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Now -- moving on to another story about co grass.
And how they are spotlighting.
Across America what is this all about we're gonna find out right now senator Mary Landrieu joins me now and -- -- -- former Foster youth in turn.
I joining me both from Washington think he's so much for taking the time and senator would ask you first what you explain to our viewers who don't know about this program what the -- all about.
Well it's a fantastic organizations congressional coalition on adoption institute it's got over a 185.
Members of congress.
Completely bipartisan supported by liberal conservative.
Independent members of congress that promote the idea.
That every child in America and the world actually needs a permanent and loving and supportive family and we promote policies.
Toward that and then try to eliminate every barrier one by one in every year we celebrate in Washington.
By honoring having the members of congress choose someone.
In their district where there's state that's done something outstanding.
For adoption or for permanent -- -- four kids in Foster care.
Lifeguards and his was our star this year got written up in the Washington Post and we're very proud of him and very proud of the organization and the event.
RJ you are among the thousands of former Foster youth.
As part of this program so if you could just give us a personal.
Feeling on on what it was like first of all when you're introduced to the program and then how it's changed your life.
-- Never expected to even be in the program runs when it crosses on FaceBook page.
Plot forward and I never thought I mean.
-- in my dreams obvious something to the program when I did it was the best opportunity I ever -- my whole life and I was from a long way in like to think everyone in the SEC.
How sell you when he heard about it.
Well wolf -- when he -- at some point 20 OK and then so what did you do you applies to the program.
Yes off our own FaceBook page of false Caroline on America.
And plus two program let's roll stuff so -- went to interview process likens them to it and so once you get accepted what does that mean.
Basically means -- -- be the -- chosen a formality.
I think it was may twenty ninth TC and start my internship by instruments in -- -- blunt of Missouri.
Not -- they enter ship -- believe it was August 2.
And really that's one of our programs of -- could say one of the program FCC ad runs.
Is the FYI program Foster used in -- and we invite about fifteen -- standing.
Foster -- even though they've had a very tough background -- RJ in many of the other young people that showed up but they have persevered.
Excellent grades pushed on despite their very difficult.
Beginnings they -- -- with a member of congress so they teach us more about the Foster care system.
We share with Sam opportunities for them to take leadership positions like this.
And it's really phenomenal and we give them the help them find their voice and give them the training they need to go on and be advocates.
For the thousands of children that are in Foster care in our country that really deserve and want permanent families and you're never too old -- -- family and RJ is gonna go back and really talked with so many kids in the system and try to help them.
You know you talk about how many kids -- are in the system -- and it is so true there are so many thousands of kids that are in the Foster care system.
And a lot of times you know those kids are are hoping that one day they they are adopted and they no longer are going from family to family.
What does it say about our current Foster care system here in our country it if if if after you've talked to so many of these Foster use.
What have you learned senator about maybe changes -- are ways that we can improve the current situation.
Well -- so many ways that we can improve that and RJ is going to be a phenomenal leader and already has but.
We're making extraordinary progress -- in the last fifteen years we've raised the number of children adopted out of Foster care from 151000.
So we're adopting about a 100% about 50% of a 100000 that are available each year for adoption.
But they're spending still too much time kids like RJ get lost in the system never was you know adopted in his sibling group is not together.
So we have some reforms to make and that's why some of the bills that RJ has suggested one which keeps the records his academic records it's a USA act.
His academic records his son's grades will be available to the states.
So that they can better monitor his situation he had to go to high school to ninth grade.
Almost three times not because he wasn't passing but because their records were lost -- so this was his idea to change the law it's so important people.
Stay on the facts and I want to put some facts up on the screen in order for our viewers to understand.
What we're talking about -- the magnitude of of of the need here 423000.
Currently are living without permanent families that means in Foster families each year over 29000.
Youth age out.
A Foster care and over 65000.
Children in Foster care in the US are placed in institutions.
RJ what does it mean by aging out of Foster care once you reach a certain.
Age what age is that.
Below housing mess faded from the South Carolina -- Christmas woman age eighteen.
Those photos my junior high school land I analysts -- army reserve and also -- team.
So if you must suffer that I went to basic training in between Nigerian seeing your high school.
So so we're prepared me for the real world when I came back from -- to turn.
And -- intimacy here a -- some short so -- of homelessness.
But worked a full time job and I managed to graduate high school when I was nineteen -- I mean.
That's a problem senator I'm sorry I mean the -- these kids -- age out first of all an eighteen year old is not ready to go and live on Iran.
An eighteen year old still depends heavily on a mother and a father for some kind of parental figure.
Or her her her guidance.
For an eighteen year old essentially he's sitting here telling me that he went through periods of homelessness -- -- of the the government allows us to even happen.
-- -- that's why our organization exists to stop this from happening and we've been very successful high in some areas over time that you're -- -- more needs to be done that's why we have the angels in adoption program that's why we have the FYI.
Programmed to publicize these facts to the nation which you know in a country like -- this just should not exist children should really when -- removed from their -- from their parents are.
Parent because of abuse or Grossman -- -- The law says they should only sent spent eighteen months in Foster care and either be reunited with that family with support services.
Or they need to move through adoption as us said.
The numbers reflect a tremendous increase in the number of children adopted.
But there's a very difficult situation to place older children not because they're not wonderful kids but I think people just don't know.
How wonderful they are just because their families are broken doesn't necessarily mean.
They are I -- -- and made some wise choices but that's what this program is about letting people know asking the churches to step up and having our government do more.
I would say age eighteen is such a critical time for so many kids that want to college and without having a stable house.
As stable home and in stable.
Guardians how do you go to college I mean there's no there's no backbone and -- our -- you're story is so incredible and I'm so glad.
That you get to tell the story to so many powerful politicians in Washington I just before I let you go I want.
To ask you about the legality US attended on September 12 in Washington and you got to meet some pretty powerful people there and I hope that they hear your story and I hear I hope.
You know we -- change in Washington and then you can come back and we can patch on the back for making a real difference in a lot of kids' lives.
Who were experiencing what you unfortunately have had to live -- Yes toll enjoy the event -- -- CC AAR staff.
Toll surprise me when my teacher came on stage as the same teacher to basically salute to my caseworkers in the state of South Carolina and rightfully give me those credits that are earned.
Throughout his school transition throw a whole high school years.
I went through twelve -- high schools so when that teachers stepped up and known -- -- to -- my crispy pieced together -- graduate.
You know running graduate on -- -- late -- graduated and -- those toll important.
I'm so -- -- the -- though and I was those toll spectacular and it's a great thing that CCA does every year in the -- TV continuing in parts of my work.
Like to take it to a national global -- too little.
Potentially run for political office one -- is sort of change -- winds at this hour to our system.
Here are off some RJ thank you so much for telling us your story one of the pictures there as with senator Roy Blunt.
We -- we really appreciate you both coming on and does senator thank you for her for helping make a difference in these kids' lives.
We want to also show the website for people who want to learn more you can go to www.
Eric C Cain ends.
C -- how do you say the house.
Money you did.
CC AI at congressional coalition on adoption institute.
-- and -- Are so there's no two eyes there -- it would seem -- -- when that's what I got confused because I'm not okay so it doesn't have CCA -- institute blended together so with CC a institute -- -- To be it absolutely correct all right thank you both for coming on we appreciate you coming on senator Mary Landrieu and Harold -- RJ thank you so much an honor to meet you.
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