children in Kentucky currently are in foster care.
We owe it to these kids and to our larger society
to share as many positive role models and experiences
as we can,"
program coordinator for UK's Training Resource
Ky. (June 23, 2004) -- Myths
plague the foster care experience. Dispelling
unfounded stereotypes regarding foster children and
care givers is one of the goals of a two-day conference
hosted by the University of Kentucky June 26-27.
With this year’s theme, “Fear/No Factor,” the
Kentucky Youth Connects Statewide Teen Conference
2004 will involve 250 people, including current and
former foster youth, as well as care givers.
"Success is a journey,"
said George Duvall, program coordinator for UK ’s
Training Resource Center. "Over 6,000 children
in Kentucky currently are in foster care. We owe
it to these kids and to our larger society to share
as many positive role models and experiences as
we can," said
Duvall. The Training Resource Center, together with
Kentucky Youth Connects (KYnex) and the Kentucky
Organization for Foster Youth (KOFFY), is sponsoring
Duvall, himself a former foster
child, is living proof that foster care programs
do succeed. Raised in Lexington by a mother on
welfare, he was labeled as a “bad child.” Eventually,
he settled into a foster home situation that, with
the right mentoring, helped instill in him a sense
of pride. He went on to graduate from Eastern Kentucky
University and now is a husband and father of two.
The “Fear/No Factor” conference
brings together youth between the ages of 15 and
21. Former foster children will share their own
stories of struggle and perseverance with young
people currently in foster care.
Myths that Duvall and his
colleagues want to confront during the conference
sessions include, “youth
in foster care are incapable of assimilating into
healthy family relationships,” and, “youth
in foster care have little hope for a positive future…they
will end up in jail or in prison,” or, “youth
in foster care are not loved by their biological
parents…they do not have real parents.”
While workshops and educational sessions dominate
the program, there will be time for fun. At the end
of the first day, a talent show is planned for youth
to showcase their singing, dancing, poetry and more.