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Darrah ends internship with Capitol Hill presentation

August 6, 2014
Darrah Hall, a former participant in our transitional living program, recently presented on Capitol Hill.

Darrah Hall, a former participant in our transitional living program, recently presented on Capitol Hill. See more photos below.

Darrah Hall, a former participant in our transitional living program, ended an eight-week internship with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute with a presentation on Capitol Hill.

Darrah and the other former foster youth shared their personal experience and creative federal policy recommendations on a range of child welfare issues.

Darrah’s recommendation: “Empowering Foster Youth through Case Plan Trainings to Increase Youth’s Acceptance Rate of Extended Foster Care,” is included in “Shaping Tomorrow’s Future with Today’s Minds: Applying Updated Solutions to an Outdated System,” a CCAI publication.

“My experience as a peer advocate for aging out foster youth in Memphis revealed to me firsthand the powerlessness youth feel and the reasons they refuse to accept extension of foster care services,” Darrah said. “The benefits of extended care include transitional living services and financial aid assistance for school and living expenses, and these services are critical for aging out foster youth who are often more vulnerable to negative outcomes.”

Darrah, a YV Scholar, recently graduated from the University of Memphis. Her recommendation to Congress is to amend the Court Improvement Program to include foster youth age 14 or older in the specialized trainings that are available for judges, attorneys, and other legal personnel.

“These trainings will help to create more empowered, engaged, confident youth who will be able to work with child welfare professionals in a collaborative way,” Darrah said. “This will ultimately increase youth acceptance of extended foster care.”

CCAI brings young people with experiential knowledge of child welfare policy and practice to Washington, D.C., to share their firsthand accounts with policymakers.

Recommendations included in this year’s report are:

  • Giving Youth a Voice: Contact After Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
  • Increasing Stability for Infants and Toddlers in Care
  • Essential Documentation for Youth in Care
  • Addressing the Trauma: Treating Children’s Mental Health with Screening and Assessments
  • Creating Best Practice Standards for the Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System
  • Renewing the System’s Commitment to Child Well Being: Fostering Resilience through Trauma Informed Training
  • Providing Comfort and Information to Children Transitioning into the System
  • Stolen Pasts, Corrupted Futures: Preventing Identity Theft for Youth in Foster Care
  • Empowering Foster Youth through Case Plan Trainings to Increase Youth’s Acceptance Rate of Extended Foster Care
  • Helping Foster Youth Overcome Barriers to Employment
  • Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Youth: Special Education and Mental Health

The foster youth interns’ reports generate both local and national attention to the critical issues facing the nearly 400,000 children currently in or transitioning out of the United States foster care system.

For more information, go to ccainstituteblog.org.

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