Contact: Lawrence Cook
January 14, 2016
State Senator Danté Bartolomeo (D-Meriden), who is Senate Chair of the legislature’s Children’s Committee, spoke to nearly 100 teens in state care and their advocates this morning as part of the 5th Annual Youth at the Capitol Day, which focused on the need for ‘normalcy’ even while living in foster care or a state group home.
The event—sponsored by the nonprofit Connecticut Voices for Children, which promotes state investments and public policies for children and families—focused on how children in state care can still get to do what their friends outside of state care do: increase personal responsibility, develop autonomy, safely take risks, pursue their interests, achieve goals and plan for the future.
The three-hour forum included teens relating personal stories of their care and how state legislators might work to improve the public policies and public investments that benefit them. Sen. Bartolomeo addressed a variety of student questions and talked about her own adopted sister, Elizabeth.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve met with kids in state care, and their observations and suggestions are always illuminating,” said Sen. Bartolomeo, who just this year was named a ‘Children’s Champion’ by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance. “Their input has helped shape state policies like the Children’s Behavioral Health Plan that we passed in 2013, and giving foster parents access to educational records. The perspectives of teens in state care have been invaluable to me, and they will continue to help me shape state policies for years to come.”
“Senator Bartolomeo is an outstanding advocate in the legislature for foster youth,” said Connecticut Voices Senior Policy Fellow Cyd Oppenheimer, who hosted today’s event. “Her willingness to listen and make life better for these kids is inspiring to the kids and to all of us. We are grateful to have her voice in the Connecticut General Assembly.”
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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