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Former Foster Children From Florida Youth Shine Speak Out at Statewide Events

What can you learn from a child or young adult? Listen and you’ll see. Members of Florida Youth Shine, who are current and former foster children, spent their summer speaking to child advocates throughout Florida, and working in the nation’s capital. They shared information about independent living legislation and other issues affecting foster kids.

The “Voice of the Youth” series took the young adults across the state to share their stories.

They spoke at trainings sessions, statewide committee meetings, and to the media that covers child advocacy issues.

In the past weeks, 22 Florida Youth Shine members actively participated in two workshops at The Department of Children and Families Child Dependency Summit in Orlando. There to learn, advocate and learn about leadership building, they also presented at workshops and served on panel discussions.

Among the events in which Florida Youth Shine members participated were:

In South Florida, specifically in Broward County, they spoke at a Guardian Ad Litem Workshop entitled: “Finally Letting Kids be Kids,” and they shared their voices on a radio Interview with Forever Family. In Miami, they participated in the University of Miami’s Miami Montage. In Port St. Lucie, they advocated for pro bono attorneys to help kids, and in Vero Beach, they served on the Independent Living Implementation Task Force & Extended Foster Care Talk Force.

In Central Florida and North Florida, they participated in the Jacksonville Children’s Justice Task Force; attended the Landmark Legislation Bill Signing in Orlando and DCF’s Child Dependency Summit, and presented a panel at the National Independent Living Conference; served on a Task Force Committee for Quality Parenting Initiative in Pinellas & Hillsborough counties; and were interviewed in Pensacola for new legislation supporting extended foster care.

To top it off, Florida Youth Shine members interned with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz and for the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute.

Though many members of Florida Youth Shine have aged out of foster care, they remain among the most active voices in support of foster care issues. We applaud their efforts and appreciate all they do. As adults and professionals, we often believe it’s our role to serve as the example for our youth and young adults. These remarkable young adults have shown us that role models know no age limits.

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