They arrive with policy ideas. Love proposed a federal Foster Care Bill of Rights that included rights to sibling visitation, involvement in school and community extracurricular activities, and obtaining a driver’s license. (Many youth age out of the system with no means of transportation to work or school.)
Mellifera wanted states to identify former foster children who had become nonviolent offenders and divert them from jail to community-based centers where they could receive mental health and education services. She says judges should offer nonviolent youthful offenders the opportunity to pay restitution while also seeking to address the reasons for their criminal behavior.
Although most of the proposals never become law—since 2008 only three have—the program has had an impact. In 2012 intern Maurissa Sorensen realized that privacy laws were keeping the Department of Education (DOE), which administers the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, from communicating with Health and Human Services (HHS), which administers Education and Training Voucher funds. The problem: Answers on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid qualified former foster children for $5,000 a year in college financial assistance. But privacy laws kept DOE from telling HHS about these students.