“We’re Not Broken”: What two former foster youth want content creators to know

“People would judge me based off of my situation of being in foster care and not based on who I was as a person. A lot of times it’s other children around you that are the most cruel. You are never given a fair chance to show your true colors.” — Former foster youth

  • Damaged
  • Helpless
  • Broken
  • Problematic
  • Heavily Traumatized

“Most of the times foster children are portrayed in a negative way, as if they are problematic and troubled. In rare cases do you see them shown in a positive light.”

“A lot of stereotypes of what a foster youth is persists in mainstream media and for myself it becomes hard to watch popular shows or movies.”

“At its core, the foster care program starts from a good place with good intentions for mankind. It allows different people in need of love to unite. Whether you are an adult looking for a child to love, or a child or teen who is often heartbroken and at a loss of love.”

“I would say thank you for investing in your dream and not giving up when everyone told you the system is too big to question.”

“I would tell my future self always stay true to yourself and never forget where you came from nor the journey you took to reach the place you are now. If you are ever in a position to change someone’s life or even influence someone’s life for the better, give it your all even if its a complete stranger. I was once a complete stranger to the family I now love and the woman of my life I now call Mom!”

“Instead of broken, youth in foster care should be portrayed as survivors: strong, successful, and rejuvenated.”

Actionable Insights for Content Creators:

  • Avoid playing into negative stereotypes about foster care youth and instead focus on their strengths.
  • Portray realistic stories and representation by including those who have experienced the foster care system throughout the writing and production process.

Colleen Russo Johnson, PhD

This blog series is supported in part by the UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families.



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