We are so grateful for today’s episode and today’s guest, sharing her story and providing an inside look at what it’s like to be a social worker in the foster care system today. On a previous episode, we had mentioned how we’d like to be educated more on the foster care system, and an incredible member of #almost30nation reached out to share her story. This conversation today is emotional, insightful, and is sure to offer you a clearer picture of the field of social work and the world foster kids live in today.
Words from our guest:
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) working and residing in Los Angeles County. I work with children, teenagers, and families with severe histories of trauma and mental illness. The children and families I work with are a part of the LA County foster care system. I support my clients by helping them process their trauma, empowering them to reach their full potential, advocating for their needs, navigating the foster care system, and guiding them through the roller coaster journey they are on. I have never met more resilient people than my clients, and they inspire me to do this challenging work and be the best version of myself day in and day out.
I am originally from the Bay Area and moved to the East Coast to complete my Master of Social Work (MSW) program at New York University. About 5 years ago, I moved to Los Angeles and began working within the LA County Department of Mental Health and Department of Children and Family Services. I was working with a 13 yr old female client who was very suicidal. I was going to her home 3-4 times weekly for therapy sessions to ensure she was safe, had someone to talk to, and could work through her suicidal thoughts. As our time was coming to an end, we wrote each other letters as part of our termination and goodbye process. In her letter to me she wrote, "thank you for letting me realize that life is worth living" THIS is the reason I do what I do.
Helping one person might not change the whole world, but it can change the world for one person. Honestly, that is what motivates me day in and day in. That is what I find so rewarding about my job. I know I am not going to “save” all my clients. I know some will fall through the cracks. But I also know that if I can make an impact on just one child, that I am helping change the world for that one person.
Statistics (from CASA organization):
Foster youth in LA is 30,000
33% of California’s foster youth currently reside in LA County
73% of foster youth have spent two or more years in the system
38% of youth have had five or more foster care placements
Less than 50% of foster youth graduate from high school and only 3% graduate from college
33% of girls in foster care become pregnant at least once by age 17
25% of youth aging out of foster care will be incarcerated within two years
At age 19, 60% of former foster youth are unemployed
27% of the homeless population spent time in foster care
Only 3% graduate from college
Half of all young adults who age out of foster care end up homeless or incarcerated.
75% of young women in foster care report at least one pregnancy by age 21
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The Almost 30 Podcast is edited by Podcast Masters