We are a nonprofit composed of individuals who have spent time in the U.S. foster care system. We exist to empower current and former foster youth by authentically sharing our own journeys of moving from trauma to triumph, rewriting the negative narrative surrounding foster care, recruiting potential foster parents for the nearly half a million U.S. children in foster care, and becoming a valuable resource to children and youth in care, child welfare professionals, and foster parents.
We accomplish these goals through engaging and empowering the collective voice of youth and alumni from foster care in storytelling and awareness-raising efforts on our various platforms.
We are a community with lived experience inside the child welfare system who seek to utilize our podcast, videos, social media, and public speaking events to share our expertise and wisdom that we believe will help serve youth in care.
The seeds of FosterStrong were first planted when Director and Screenwriter Sean Anders was promoting his movie, Instant Family, a family comedy about a married couple that fosters to adopt. The movie is loosely based on Sean and Beth Anders’ experience fostering and adopting their own three children.
Upon the release of the movie and the subsequent movie tour, Sean met numerous alumni of foster care with compelling stories that exemplified resilience, and believed these stories of strength were not getting the attention they deserved. Instant Family consultant and long-time child welfare advocate, Allison Maxon, agreed and the two of them wanted to support those with lived experience in their efforts to change the narrative around foster care.
Sean and Allison brought together a group of 10 alumni of care in 2019 and FosterStrong officially launched in May 2020.
FosterStrong’s vision is a reimagined foster care system where there is no place for negative stigmas, shame, or embarrassment for those that have experienced foster care. For too long the voice of those with lived experience has not received the volume it deserves. We hope to elevate these voices by providing a platform that empowers alumni from foster care to claim their story, own their strengths, and reclaim their collective narrative, together. We also exist to help offer advice to children and youth in foster care, foster parents, child welfare professionals, and individuals who may be considering fostering.
We hope to encourage children and youth in foster care or alumni of foster care that while extremely difficult, foster care can contribute to a strength and resilience that is unmatched by many of our peers who did not experience care. And one day, we envision a community and National where all children or alumni of foster care are free to develop their identities and self-esteem without the stigma and shame that being care experienced can bring. All children and youth, including those connected to foster care have a right to a childhood that nurtures their resilience, strength, dignity, and fortitude.