Sep. 21, 2017
Inglewood native Alain Datcher (’11) is one of 16 college students from across the nation who will spend the summer on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Foster Youth Internship (FYI) program. This summer-long assignment provides individuals who have spent time in the United States foster care system with an opportunity to intern in a Congressional office, and share their experiences, opinions and unique perspectives with policymakers in Congress. Datcher will be interning in Senator Tim Kaine’s office.
“If it had not been for the foster care system I would not be alive today, let alone interning on Capitol Hill. I was headed on the path of the all too common statistic: drug dealer, gang member or deceased. Foster care became the means through which I got family and changed the course my life was headed in,” Datcher said.
“I labor so passionately on behalf of the foster care system because it rescued me from a doomed future. That's why I seek to improve the system as best I can for those who identify as a foster child, adopted or orphaned. It’s something I want to devote my life to.”
Datcher was a child of two abusive parents and, with his four other siblings, later lived with his sister under kinship care. He was able to pursue an education with the help of numerous organizations.
“Alain comes to Washington not only as foster youth intern, but as a voice of every child in the foster care system,” said Kathleen Strottman, executive director of CCAI. “Not a day goes by that I am not inspired by the courage and tenacity of these youth. Each and every day, they use their voice on behalf of those who do not have one. They reveal their scars in the hope that others won’t have these same wounds inflicted upon them.”
Since 1999, more than 230,000 young people have transitioned from foster care without permanent family connections. Only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds). Datcher overcame the odds and graduated from Downtown Magnets High School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication and minor in biblical studies at Biola. He is currently a candidate for a master of arts in public policy at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy in Malibu, Calif.
Datcher hopes to use his knowledge of and personal experience with the foster care system to affect change at the national level.
“During my internship, I hope to work to get a Federal requirement for all states who receive federal funding for foster care, adoption care, or orphan care for a specific Children and Families budget listing any and all organizations, public and private, that serve this demographic,” said Datcher.
As part of their assignment, FYI researches issues impacting children in foster care across the country and compile their findings and recommendations into a policy report. This document is presented at a Congressional briefing and shared with child welfare advocates across the country. In past years, these reports have generated both local and national attention to the critical issues facing the 400,540 children currently in the United States foster care system.
For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Specialist, at 562.777.4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu