DES MOINES, Iowa — Several dozen children who have gone through Iowa’s foster care system brought a series of requests for lawmakers. Those involve money. Their requests for all adults did not.
"Nothing about us, without us," they chanted inside the statehouse rotunda Monday morning. The children are part of AMP, Achieving Maximum Potential, a statewide advocacy for foster and adoptive children.
Iowa's First Lady Christina Branstad has advocated for youth for years. She doesn't do many public appearances--and wanted to point out that she wasn't pushing for specific legislation to help youth--but said she wanted to applaud what foster children have overcome.
Ruth Buckels, statewide coordinator for the group, said, "We don't do a very good job advertising what the youth needs. We advertise what the system has to offer."
She believes adults need to do a better job listening to the needs of youth, instead of just assuming what those needs may be.
AMP pushed for five main issues for legislators:
- Request federal assistance to provide legal guardians with financial assistance to help care for youth.
- Pass an anti-bullying bill.
- Adopt Erin's Law, a national effort, which requires that all public schools implement a child sexual abuse prevention plan.
- Expand specialized housing for youth with mental health challenges and those transitioning out of foster care.
- Ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth.