Foster Youth Internship Program®
CCAI's Foster Youth Internship (FYI) Program® is a congressional internship for individuals who have experienced the U.S. foster care system. The FYI Program began in 2003 as an effort to raise awareness to federal policymakers about the needs and unique perspectives of children and youth in foster care. During the program, CCAI organizes retreats, advocacy trainings, and various networking opportunities with experts in the child welfare field for our Foster Youth Interns. While participating in a congressional office summer internship, the FYI Program interns spend time researching policy issues affecting children and youth in the U.S. foster care system. These experiences allow the interns to create a policy report that is presented to Members of Congress and their staff and released to child welfare advocates across the country. As of 2023, There are 246 exceptional alumni of the Foster Youth Internship Program® to date.
While participating in the program, federal policymakers are shown firsthand the experiences of youth in foster care, and as a result, go on to use their new knowledge to inspire legislative change. Interns participating in this program benefit both personally and professionally, gaining experience and skills that will bolster their careers for years to come and with a foundation to be lifelong advocates for improving the foster care system.
CCAI’s FYI Program interns are selected because they display both the interest and skill necessary to become effective advocates for change. The FYI Program is uniquely designed to develop and strengthen these advocacy skills as well as provide opportunities to pursue careers in federal policy and other prestigious fields after graduation. Interns are given an inside look at the federal legislative process and an opportunity to play an active role in developing federal policy. The FYI Program interns have found this experience to be invaluable to their efforts to secure jobs after college. Through the generosity of the Foster Youth Internship Program® Sponsors Circle, CCAI covers the cost of each intern’s travel, housing and general living expenses and provides professional trainings and networking opportunities.
CCAI organizes an orientation program meant to familiarize the interns with CCAI and Congress by inviting senior congressional staff members to participate in the training sessions. CCAI staff and volunteers also provide one-on-one research support for the interns in their weekly meetings as they prepare for their congressional report and briefings. Various networking opportunities, trainings and receptions are offered to the FYI Program interns throughout the summer, and CCAI takes the interns on a mid-summer retreat. The FYI Program culminates in a special ceremony recognizing completion of the program, as well as briefings to both Congress and the White House where the interns present their personal policy recommendations for improving federal child welfare policy. The FYI Program interns' policy report and recommendations have gained national recognition and have led to legislative reforms to federal child welfare policy.
For more information, please contact CCAI's Programs Coordinator, Sara Schleicher, at [email protected].