Senator Scott Dibble / Our family is not complete if you are not a part of it.
"Know that we need you…our family is not complete if you are not a part of it."
Minnesota State Senator Scott Dibble, longtime advocate for foster youth, shares advice to other advocates and to those who have aged out.
"Listen to and engage young people themselves in work of making things better. They know the shortcomings of the foster care system. They are best situated to articulate the solutions. Incredible personal and leadership development opportunities for those young people lie in efforts to build a movement and campaign for change. Be open to innovation, to changes, to different ways to use “the money.” It is not your money, it is held and used in trust. Protecting jobs, institutions, the status quo is a moral failure if those things are not doing much to make young people’s lives better."
His advice to foster youth who have aged out of the system:
"In the Minnesota Legislature, we have passed some groundbreaking legislation and devoted significant resources to help address the issues around the foster care system, youth homelessness, bullying in schools, the continuum of services and support young people need to grow into happy, productive, adulthood – lives with purpose and meaning. One of the policies we changed was in recognition of the fact that nothing magic happens at age 18. Almost everyone still relies on the adults in their lives for support, advice and resources, so we changed the eligibility for youth services to age 24. These law and policy changes were hard to accomplish and took several years of movement building and persistence. The only way we were able to was because young people themselves learned how to advocate on their own behalf, to come to the legislature to tell their stories. They claimed their power and demonstrated incredible courage to challenge a system that was failing them. So my advice is to know that you matter, your voice counts. Find ways to articulate what matters to you to those who can make a difference. Call your legislator. Ask the leaders of the organizations that you’re connected to launch a legislative campaign for better services, better policies and dedication of resources to give you what you need. Know that we need you…our family is not complete if you are not a part of it."
Senator Scott Dibble (DFL, Senate District 61)