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VFA Policy Intern Blog: My Perspective on Child Welfare and Adoption

My Perspective on Child Welfare and Adoption

By Rachel Hervey

Published 02/28/18

These children need us, and I am honored to be able to give them a voice.

At this point, I am reaching the halfway mark of my internship with Voice for Adoption. It seems like just yesterday I experienced my first day as an intern. Starting off, I was nervous and unsure of my ability to provide insight on a topic I had no previous experience with, but I was confident in my capacity to absorb any and all information given to me. Almost immediately, I was immersed into important work that impacts children all across the country. Having the opportunity to work with a small non-profit organization has allowed me hands-on, one-on-one work with VFA's executive director. Within my first week, I delved into a world of policy and advocacy, and it opened my eyes. I began to see that the world is bigger than a small town back home in Michigan, and that these problems within the system are very real.  I am amazed at how many people I have met who are working here, in D.C., fighting for these children. I am learning the importance of the trickle-down effect of these efforts, even if you don't see it first-hand on the frontlines. Everything we do as advocates plays a key role in a child's life somewhere. Working alongside other organizational advocates, I have learned that the child welfare spectrum ranges from finance, to medical care, to foster youths’ rights, and having so many aspects brought to the table creates a complicated system. Since attending many meetings, hearings, and events, I have become well-informed of the current state of the child welfare system, and the foster care system specifically. Learning what is broken and needs fixing within the system has only ignited my passion for working on children's needs. 


Every child deserves to find a permanent, safe, and loving place they can always call home. Not every child finds this, though, which is heartbreaking on its own. Adding to that, is the ability we, as a nation, have to decrease the amount of children entering the foster care system. Despite this, the number is still growing, and will continue to grow unless we address the issues at hand. Federal and state funding that can be directed towards preventive and post-adoption services at state and local community levels, is a critical part of insuring a better system. Reporting within the system needs to be regulated more closely, because data is so critical to our future decision-making. Making sure that every child who wants a family, gets one, and every family who wants a child, gets one, regardless. Realizing that, although kinship can be a wonderful option, it is not the only option, if a child could be better placed elsewhere. Remembering that permanency is always the goal. As you can see, there are so many pieces which create a complete puzzle. Although the child welfare system has many branches, I have found one common ground: putting the child's needs before anything else is vital. It is the child who is still developing and growing. It is the child who potentially has, or will, experience some level of trauma. It is the child whose outcome of life is put on the line. These children are our nation's future.


I am so excited to see where the rest of my time with Voice for Adoption takes me. I have gained invaluable information thus far, and know that I will continue to grow and expand as a person while working with such an incredible organization. Knowing that I am making a difference, even ever so small, that could benefit a child's life is why I love the work I am doing. These children need us, and I am honored to be able to give them a voice!