Foster Youth Deserve the Right to Speak for Themselves in Court [chronicleofsocialchange.org]

 

As a youth in foster care, I am used to major decisions about me being made in my absence.

Countless times, I was not made aware of my court dates, where my future would be decided.

But not being able to participate in court can have a far-reaching impact on foster youth like me.

Last year, I tried reaching out to my attorney to find out my court date and to discuss some challenges I had with my case workers. However, he never answered, and attended my hearing without me.

I later found out my court hearing took place four days after my 18th birthday. Because I didn’t show up, my lawyer and new caseworker discharged me from foster care, without my permission. I was angry and confused because I already signed a board extension, which allows youth to remain in care until age 21.

Foster youth like me feel like we do not have any control and often feel discouraged to use our voices when we are in dependency court. Sadly, many youth do not realize they have rights in court.

[For more on this story by Shanice Holmes, go to https://chronicleofsocialchang...elves-in-court/28402]

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