The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Issue #132 (Spring 2018) issue cover
Fixing Foster Care

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Mr. Vern's fatherly advice helps keep Evaj on track. (full text)

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Youth in care know more about the foster care system than anyone. In this issue, they offer suggestions on how to improve it. (full text)

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Tayia went into care as a child, then was returned to her mother. She takes issue with how child welfare handled all of it and says what might have helped her. (full text)

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Demetria's foster mom is loving and supportive but doesn't give Demetria the privacy or freedom that a teenager needs and that Demetria feels she has earned. (full text)

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A mentor program in New York City features one-on-one outings between mentor and mentee, but also group meetings where everybody shares experiences and advice. (full text)

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The author opts for a group home rather than a "fake family" of foster parents and tries to take full advantage of what the system offers. (full text)

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This writer from California lives with her grandparents and is frustrated by kinship care rules like no sleepovers and keeping curfews. (full text)

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Sedrick takes bad foster care experiences and turns them into concrete suggestions to help foster parents make youth feel more welcome and safe. (full text)

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The author goes into care for five months with little explanation. He copes by narrowing his vision down to doing well in school and trying not to worry about what he can't control. (full text)

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Tayia interviews MyraMae King, who worked in child welfare for almost 40 years. King shares suggestions including involving birth parents more and helping youth stay in touch with all good caregivers. (full text)

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Zariah is placed in a home for pregnant and parenting teens and hates it. She connects with only one staff, who supports and advises her, but then quits without saying goodbye. (full text)

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The author never finds the support and love he needs in foster care. Instead he learns not to depend on anyone else. (full text)

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Alexus reviews The Florida Project, which follows a 6-year-old girl living in a motel with her fun but irresponsible mother. Alexus sees parallels with her own childhood. (full text)

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One group activity encourage youth to turn their own complaints about foster care into suggestions for their agencies. The other asks teens to write up what staff did right. (full text)
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