Published 05/08/12

An advocate for foster children

In an opinion piece published by the Providence Journal, Ariana Alicea '12 calls for states to increase their support for foster children who "age out" of the system at age 18.

Alicea, a sociology and service learning major from Connecticut, writes: "I'm not speaking from behind the desk of a philanthropy or political position. ... I have been a foster child since I was 6. I was fortunate enough to be born and neglected in Connecticut, a state that offers an extension of child-welfare benefits after age 18 to young adults who qualify."

She says that foster children "become such by being 'abused or neglected.' What is it when states declare themselves the legal guardians of these children and then leave them without resources on their 18th birthday? I'd argue it's neglect.

"More emphasis needs to be placed on education success, life skills and stable adult connections. These young adults, myself included, need a plan; not just an exit plan, but a sustainability plan ... [and] people to depend on ... in the difficult transition from child to adult."

After her graduation, Alicia will pursue a master's degree in clinical social work at Boston College.