Illinois Foster Care In the News…

‘Poster boy’ credits social worker for happy ending

By DIANE STRAND – The Midweek News-12/25/08

How big of a village does it take to raise a child?

For Richard, who was raised in foster care, it was a group home with several boys and two houseparents. Prior to that, it was a series of foster homes, where Richard admits he wasn’t always easy to handle.

But he says he learned something positive from each of them. When he was older, and his apartment was flooded, his houseparents let him come back for a week until he could find other housing. He was family.

Richard, 39, is now the poster boy for a statewide campaign called “Foster Kids Are Our Kids.” Its goal is to show the public that foster children are real people, with real potential and real success.

Read more …
From foster child to foster care
By Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff
11/29/2008

Ozzie Calhoun is a 24-year-old who moved into a three-bedroom home in Hoffman Estates three years ago.

He works from home in real estate. He speaks confidently about how to solve the subprime mortgage crisis. Every so often he reaches into his pocket to check his phone. He’s expecting an important business call.

Calhoun knows he’s different. And he’s isn’t shy about the reason. He’s one of the featured spokesmen in a campaign to boost the public’s perception of foster children. Calhoun’s face is featured on posters and literature. He’s trying to figure out how to post Web footage of a TV commercial he taped.

As a former foster child, he knows how the system works and wants to encourage potential foster parents to get involved.

“Growing up, I know people just think of it as a bad thing,” Calhoun said. “It’s not really a kid’s fault. Foster care is about giving a kid an opportunity to have a normal life.”

Read more …

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