The next few weeks we will blog About The Initiative(s), a series that highlights the latest organizations we have given grants to. Each blog will give you an idea of the projects we have funding for their organization. Along the way, we will post blogs from the organizations with updates and stories about how their work is impacting the people they serve.
We are highlighting the work of CCAI a wonderful organization serving foster youth through their internship program. As a former case manager for foster children, I hold the work of CCAI close to my heart. Next month our co-founder, Brandon Hatmaker, has the opportunity to meet and speak to the 2017 foster youth class in Washington, DC. We are very excited about this trip and the opportunity to represent all of our Legacy Collective Community in DC.
About CCAI Foster Youth Internship Program
CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship Program® is a life-changing youth empowerment program that provides young adults who have spent their formative years in foster care with the opportunity to intern in a congressional office for a summer. The Foster Youth Internship Program® began in 2003 as an effort to raise awareness to federal policymakers about the needs and unique perspectives of those who spent time in foster care. For 14 years, CCAI has provided over 180 interns with a Capitol Hill internship experience that not only develops and launches this vulnerable group of young people into their professional careers but also facilitates opportunities for them to advocate for better policies for foster children all over the nation. A direct result of the Foster Youth Internship Program® is that Members of Congress are shown firsthand the real life experiences of youth growing up in foster care. At the conclusion of the program, the interns author a policy report of recommendations on improving the federal foster care system (the 2016 congressional policy report has been provided with this application). This report is presented at a Congressional briefing and a briefing to the White House Domestic Policy Council, as well as disseminated across the country.
The Foster Youth Internship Program® is an initiative of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). CCAI is a nonprofit, bipartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right to a family. This unique internship provides an invaluable experience for current and former foster youth as it gives them life skills and professional training, networking opportunities that they would not receive outside of this program, but most importantly, it provides a platform for them to use their voice and experiences to advocate and make a difference in the child welfare system. The Congressional Policy Report that the foster youth author at the completion of the program is extremely important to lawmakers as they gain insight into how they can best meet the needs of the children in foster care in our country.
The $25,000 Legacy Collective grant allows CCAI to provide full service, wrap-around care for the interns during this 10-week program, which includes roundtrip travel to Washington, D.C., housing, daily commuting expenses, a weekly stipend and mental health support services. In addition, CCAI organizes and facilitates retreats, professional networking events; advocacy and public speaking training, financial workshops, resume building and interview training, and various opportunities to advocate for foster care reform and adoption to leaders in the business community.
The CCAI team would like to thank everyone in the Legacy Collective Community for coming alongside the foster youth internship class of 2017.