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Man Still Fighting 40-year Sentence for Nonlethal Crime He Committed As 14-year-old

What was about to happen on Feb. 4, 1999, would drastically accelerate the trajectory of Christopher Thomas’ life, which had been spiraling downhill since birth, and end up with him getting sentenced to 40 years in prison as an unarmed tagalong in a nonlethal shooting. Seventeen years later, he is in prison still trying to understand how he got such a harsh sentence in a life that was never really his own.

According to Katrina Alston, the ratio of staff to foster children is insufficient. Where she worked, there was one staff member assigned to six girls.

California Law to Close Group Homes Stresses Importance of Family for Every Foster Kid

Katrina Alston wasn’t trained as a therapist, social worker or anything of that nature when she worked at a Pasadena, California, group home for emotionally troubled teenage girls in the Los Angeles County foster care system. She simply went through a weeklong training process and two weeks of job shadowing.

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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.