Foster kids are often forgotten, explained Sixto Cancel, CEO & Founder of Think of Us. Recounting his own horrific experience in the foster care system, he noted that children who age out of the system often suffer from homelessness, unemployment, and undereducation. Three-fourths of children who are sex-trafficked have some history in the foster care system.
In order to fix this broken system, we have to listen to the lived experience of survivors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were expected to shelter at home but foster youth over 18 were being expelled from their homes. Cancel reached out to survey more than 7,000 kids in foster care and brought the data to the Trump administration. This cooperation has continued with the Biden-Harris administration to assist 30,000 kids in 44 states so far.
Cancel explained that we need to look at new ways to keep families together. Approximately 64% of kids are in foster care due to poverty-related neglect. However, family members who are willing to step in do not receive the same financial assistance that foster families do. If we can change that system, we can change outcomes for potentially millions of children. We have the opportunity to redesign how the system works, but only if we leverage the input from people with lived experience.
“Some of the most broken parts of foster care can be fixed if we actually leverage lived experience.”
Sixto Cancel, CEO & Founder, Think of Us