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‘Plastic Toy Guns Are Not Dangerous Weapons, It’s the Officers’

Nicholas Heyward Sr., 58, remembers the night. It was a warm Tuesday in 1994 and the sun had yet to set. Neighborhood children trickled into the Gowanus Houses, the Brooklyn housing project where he lived, answering their parents’ calls, while others stayed outside to enjoy the remainder of a beautiful fall day.

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Locked in the Box: Student Assignment – 24 Hours in Solitary

"After just 24 hours, I testify that solitary confinement is hell on earth. Solitary confinement is legalized torture," says Anyssa Williams, a Georgia State University student who spent 24 hours in an 8 by 8 cell replica for a school assignment.

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You Gotta Believe!

“Aging is not safe. Aging out leaves kids with sort of a lifetime of potential dire outcomes and loneliness," says Susan Grundberg, executive director and CEO of You Gotta Believe (YGB), a New York City nonprofit organization that focuses on finding permanent families for young adults, teens and preteens in foster care.

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Academics, Former Foster Kids Talk Solutions in New York City

Young people aging out of foster care face a multitude of obstacles, including unemployment and homelessness, health care access and education. Researchers, academics, practitioners and current and former foster youth came together to discuss transitioning out of the foster care system and some much-needed solutions to the complex problems.

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Powerful Voices of New York City’s Former Foster Youth

From loving mentors to abusive foster parents and indifferent social workers, a group of New Yorkers talk openly about surviving foster care and forging relationships.

"I never had that love and affection before, you know, and when I was searching for it, I got it all in the wrong places, " says one former foster kid, Rosie Williams.

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Positive + Policy

"If we can get these kids to believe, and if we can get these parents on board to believe, we can make these connections and we can make these families," says Amber Williams of You Gotta Believe!

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Always a Need: Recruiting Foster Parents

"They're kids. They need a home; they need to be loved," says Catherine Harm, a social worker and prospective foster parent. Harm and her partner, Erica Chesser, are in the process of applying to become foster parents, including an in-home orientation session

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Foster Kids in the House

"You might not be able to choose what time you go to bed or what you're eating for dinner, but you can talk to the legislature about how to make things better for youth across the state," says Lisa McMahon, program director of the Oregon Foster Youth Connection. Driven by current and former foster kids between the ages 14 and 25, the OFYC helps shape foster-oriented bills that go before the Oregon legislature.