Sky Lea Ross
"I was put into foster care at the age of 15. I was eager to be removed from my home since my mom’s side of the family was severely abusive. As a young girl, I was burned with cigarettes, scratched by fingernails, slapped in the face repeatedly, referred to with racial slurs, and ultimately deprived of a normal childhood.
After five months of being interrogated by a new social worker every two weeks, they finally believed me and removed me from the home on October 9th, 2009. I was introduced to a more loving and caring motherly figure and given the freedom I needed to grow.
I am forever thankful for the foster care system rescuing me from my original home, but it’s not fair or right that it took so long for them to recognize the maltreatment I witnessed on a daily basis. I am a trauma survivor and live with PTSD and Bipolar I Disorder. Much of my depression and anxiety have been resolved with several years in therapy.
One of the best things about being in the foster care system is all of the doors it opens up for you. There are so many resources, such as Foster Care Counts, the Independent Living Program (ILP), IFOSTER, Journey House, the Chafee Grant, UCLA Guardian Scholars Program, etc. My advice to any current/former foster youth is to utilize them ALL. We are an underprivileged and underrepresented population, and often, we don’t have familial support that so many other individuals our age depend on. Therefore, it’s essential that you make use of mentors and support networks offered to you. These are the people who want to see you achieve your dreams.
At the end of the day… this is YOUR life, and you need to decide what’s in your best interest and take the initiative in helping yourself. Whether that be defending yourself, becoming your own advocate, scheduling doctor/therapist appointments, applying to college, searching for jobs, or just learning how to promote self-acceptance and self-love—remember, it’s up to you to better yourself and accomplish your goals!"