April 25, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

Foster Youth Serve as Pages for State Legislature

This year, 25 foster youth from Lee, Montgomery, Madison, Etowah, Winston, Marengo, Cullman, Russell and Tuscaloosa counties participated as pages in the House of Representatives and Senate.  This is the second consecutive year that foster youth were given the opportunity to serve in the state legislature as pages.

The program gives youth an opportunity to interact with elected officials and network with other teens from across the state. "The first time I would be going out of town to represent someone; I just knew it would be boring," said James, a foster youth from Madison County. "But to my surprise, it was the most fun I had in a long time. I met new people that were just so kind and educational. It gave me the idea that I may become a representative one of these days," he added.

The program was kicked off in 2007 when Linda Williams, a former foster parent, initiated contacts regarding DHR foster youth, ages 14 and older, serving as pages during the regular legislative session. As part of DHR’s Independent Living Program, participants were selected based on their social worker’s recommendation and their interest in acquiring knowledge about how the State government conducts business.

Youth were excited and eager to participate as pages. They reported that some of the issues addressed were interesting and it was great to observe the voting process of the Representatives and Senators.

"The trip taught me a lot about how the state government works. I got to go into the Chambers of the Senate and watch the Senators work," said one foster youth. "It was very interesting how they deal with state issues and how they argue their points."

The Independent Living Program serves youth ages 14 to 21 and always seek opportunities that will provide enrichment to the youth that would continue to cultivate their desires to expand on political and social issues.

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