It’s summertime. And that’s means loading up on sunscreen and trying to find ways to entertain your family during long days without school. For some kids, summer also means an increase of screen time. But how safe are your kids when they have their own smart phone? How much information can they give away without even realizing it? And should you limit your household’s screen time? These are all good questions to ask, and we want to pass on a few pointers about internet and phone safety/health that we have learned to help you best protect your kids and their screen time desires.
Welcome to our Blog! We post weekly articles written on a variety of topics from a variety of people, including our staff, volunteers, community members, and our parents and youth. The Voices of our Blog are opinion pieces, reflecting the diverse experiences and viewpoints of our community. These articles are not meant to represent the views of everyone at FCNI, our Board of Directors and staff, or present a definitive policy statement, but are designed to be informative and thought-provoking.
CYC Youth Put their Voices into Action
This past February, FCNI sent a group of young foster youth who participate in the local chapter of the California Youth Connection to the State Capitol for the Annual Day at the Capitol. After their experience, the group drafted the following article. In a day and age where politics can be more divisive and negative, we salute these young people for taking a more positive approach: for learning how to use their voices to stand up for causes they believe in to better the lives of so many. We here at FCNI couldn’t be more proud of their bravery and dedication!
Prison is no place anyone would want to be; restricting, dark, unsafe and punitive. It is a place we isolate a segment of our society whose conduct prevents them from remaining within the larger population; individuals who have, to one degree or another, hurt others. It is a place where one’s independence and self-worth is stripped away and replaced with total subjugation and control. The word “prison” usually conjures up very negative imagery: bad people, horrible environment, survival of the fittest; where people leave more sophisticated and evil than when they arrived.
But this isn’t always the case.
Who Carries it in Foster Care?
Over the course of the past month, I have given extra thought to the concepts and reality of “foster care”, primarily because May is National Foster Care month. As I thought about “what” foster care really is and includes, I quickly became overwhelmed. Broken down into small parts such as foster children, foster parents, Foster Family Agency, social worker, therapist, Community Care Licensing, etc. and “foster care” can be understood and managed in my small mind. However, “foster care” in its entirety is a complex and complicated system. As I struggled with the question of “What is foster care, really?” my simple mind would soon turn to thoughts of Disneyland. Now, those of you who have been or are currently in foster care or may have a daily connection to “foster care”, are probably thinking: “This guy has lost all connection to reality,” because foster care and Disneyland may seem like complete opposites.
Giving Voice to our Foster Kids
We work and serve in a very challenging field, and we can’t avoid acknowledging and responding to the vast injustices our foster children have experienced. However, it is far too easy to forget that these children are just children. They tell me, at the end of the day, they want and think about the same things the other kids in the neighborhood think about, the same things their peers worry about, the same things “normal” kids dream for. And while it is true that our foster kids do indeed have additional complicating factors and concerns–supervised visitation with a biological parent, separation from siblings, life away from the home they knew–they often want to be thought of for other things; things that might seem irrelevant and inconsequential to those working with these kids who know the gravity of their whole situation. To illustrate, these kids follow pop culture, they care about what’s “cool,” they have favorite foods, they laugh and joke with friends…and they also happen to be in foster care. The point, though, is they happen to also be in foster care; they aren’t just about foster care.