The Arizona foster care series by the Payson Roundup team demonstrates journalists' commitment to "put a face" on foster care.
In pursuit of this goal, your staff designated a three-week period to focus on this topic. The first week, reporter Michael Maresh spent the day with staff at Child Protective Services. During the second week, Felicia Megdal interviewed parents who had lost their children. In the third week, Carol La Valley interviewed foster parents.
Can anyone guess whose viewpoint was missing? If you said "foster care youth and alumni," you are correct.
Kudos to Payson journalists for recognizing that in Arizona today, 9,902 children are living with foster parents. Thanks to them for stepping into the shoes of social workers, foster parents and biological parents, and helping others to empathize with these complicated positions.
As a former foster child, I encourage them to take this courageous journey one step further, by allowing airtime for foster care youth and alumni. We are the "consumers" of the foster care system. Our lives are most greatly impacted by the outcome of custodial decisions.
In the future, I encourage the staff of Payson Roundup to add a fourth week to "put a face on foster care." There are many local faces to share, including representatives from Foster Care Alumni of America www.fostercarealumni.org and In My Shoes www.inmyshoesinc. org.
Lisa Dickson, Westerville, Ohio
Editor's note: The Roundup is considering a fourth story for the series. It's reality will depend on whether we find someone who wants to talk about their time as a foster child.