"Some people are sent to our lives to test our growth and to teach us. Grow from the lessons life teaches you- there are no mistakes, only lessons."

Brittany Cannon shares #HerStory:

"I was 16 and my baby sister was 5. We were fortunate enough to be in the same group home (it was separated by age) and foster home together for a little while until my guardianship was approved. But once that happened it was a very difficult transition for both of us as I had been her primary support and that role was no longer my position, it was a painful process. Another challenge was not having transparent information from social workers, group home staffers, etc. I was standoffish and they didn't seem to care or interested in what I was experiencing. I was treated a certain way because of what was said about me in reports and no one seemed to want to actually understand Brittany. I did not know of resources that were available to me until it was too late which was extremely frustrating to try and figure a lot out on my own, and struggle for things that I should of had more support in (housing, food, travel expenses, medical, etc).

When I finally emancipated from the system, I needed housing assistance, talk-therapy, food, medical assistance (dental, eye, and sexual health awareness are lacking for us "fosters") and financial assistance. I needed to be in ILP!!! And I didn't know what ILP was or that I qualified. I wish I could have been apart of extended foster care to receive the benefits.

However, the system taught me how to take initiative and advocate for myself. Stand up for myself. Fight for my rights and to fight for other people! That is more important and a responsibility I have to live up to during my existence on this planet.

The child welfare system is organized to prey on the poorest people and on people of color which stems also from our Prison Industrial Complex and the surveillance of black and brown lives. This is something I've been "taught" from my experience with systems of oppression.

You will be the one to have to deal with the repercussions for your actions, so don't let anyone play you. Focus on your goals and create your own way- but seek support (Guardian Scholars, ILP, John Burton, InsideOut Writers, CYC, there are many places to seek out for help) and don't be afraid to ask questions and advocate for yourself! You can do ANYTHING you dream, just work hard to achieve it!"

Foster Nation