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VFA Policy Intern Blog: A Farewell to VFA

A Farewell to VFA

By Rachel Hervey

Published 04/16/18

After fourteen weeks of interning with Voice for Adoption, my entire perspective regarding foster care, adoption, and child welfare has changed. I had no understanding of the current problems that the child welfare system is facing. There is much work to be done to fix the system, and I’ve witnessed first-hand how child welfare advocates here in DC work every day to improve the lives of our nation’s children. In addition to these advocates, there are social/case workers, judges, attorneys, and others working on the front lines. Despite the number of people fighting for these children, numerous problems still need to be addressed. Each person plays an important role in the child welfare system, no matter how big or small that role may be.

Voice for Adoption has given me an incredible opportunity to learn about the world of policy. I have gained so much knowledge about the role of public policy, and how it is implemented. In addition, I've seen the relationship between the allocation of funding and its impact on the success or failure of a program. I have also gained invaluable knowledge working with a small, non-profit organization. Being able to work one-on-one with Schylar Baber, VFA Executive Director, has allowed me access into the administrative work that it takes to run a non-profit organization. Attending advocacy meetings and Capitol Hill events, briefings, and hearings has given me a well-rounded perspective of a variety of topics related to the child welfare system: adoption incentives and opportunities, conscience rights in healthcare, discrimination towards LGBTQ youth, AFCARS, etc. I have learned about the amazing adoptive families that VFA has worked with over the years, and I've been touched by their stories. 

"I could not have asked for a better internship experience."

During my time in DC, I was also fortunate enough to witness some incredible events happen in Congress. VFA, along with the help of other coalitions and organizations, was able to see the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, which was an impactful win on child welfare front. I also assisted in the fight for supplementation of the adoption incentives shortfall, which ultimately gained approval. In addition, I witnessed crucial funding wins for child welfare programs in the proposed 2018 budget. It was through these successes that I was able to understand what drives these passionate advocates. It felt meaningful to have aided in these wins, even if I only played a small role. 

As I enter my final week with Voice for Adoption, I am able to look back at the amazing experiences I have experienced and feel very blessed. I am confident that Voice for Adoption will continue to grow and do amazing things that will impact foster care and adoption. I could not have asked for a better internship experience, and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to intern with such an incredible organization. As I head back home to Michigan, I am incredibly excited to see where the future takes me and how I will incorporate what I have learned as I move forward. It's been a privilege working with VFA!