- August 2003
- Vol. 4, No. 6
Former Foster Youth Spend Summer on Capitol Hill
Eight former foster youth spent 6 weeks this summer on Capitol Hill serving as Congressional interns, as part of a program co-sponsored by the Orphan Foundation of America (OFA) and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCAI). The Foster Youth Intern Program's goals are twofold: offer foster youth a prestigious Hill internship usually reserved for well-connected constituents, and make foster care and adoption real to Members of Congress and their staff by putting a face on the issues.
The interns were selected from more than 80 applicants across the country. To be eligible, students must have completed at least their sophomore year of college and have spent their teen years in foster care or been adopted as a teen from the foster care system. During the program they participated in Congressional briefings on adoption issues and in social networking events. One highlight of this year's program was the opportunity to meet Bruce Willis, who came to Washington, DC, to premiere his latest movie and meet with Members of Congress to discuss foster care reform.
Congressional participants included Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio).
Funding for this year's program came from private foundations, including the Dave Thomas Foundation. Next year OFA and CCAI hope to place 75 interns on Capitol Hill and in Federal agencies that can further their career goals.
OFA executive director Eileen McCaffrey notes, "Opening the door to government service through this program will help more foster youth enter the workforce and become tomorrow's good citizens."