A few cracks in the system

 Many people who are not aware of the cracks that the system has will tell me, “You are doing so well, I guess we are doing something right,” however, deep down inside I know of all of the behind the scenes injustices that are going on. One in particular is that when a youth ages out he/she is not told that their medical insurance will expire unless it’s renewed each year. Failure to renew leads to insurance being cancelled, reapplying down at the county building which takes forever, a three to sixth month response period, then finally insurance may be activated or not.  Yet what’s worse to come is that if the application is denied, this “achieving” adult will be left with no health insurance. Which poses the question: what is the child welfare system doing right?
As I look back at the many obstacles that I have  overcome and still overcoming since my first year in college, one that stands out is fighting for my CHAFEE grant. Since my freshman year until now I have calculated an average of five to six visits per academic year to the financial-aid office too simply check the status of my CHAFEE grant. One reason that the financial-aid counselor will tell me that the CHAFEE grant is late is that the state has yet to release its budget. So my options become very narrow with the registrar’s office when having to pay up front registration fees, tuition fees and so forth, or face the consequence of being dropped from classes with a $75 late fee charge. Since my freshman year I have learned my lesson, work extra hard during the summer and save my financial-aid from the previous year in order to pay for the upcoming fees of the new academic year. Even though it limits me to a very strict budget and picking up two jobs in order to pay for everything on time, while the state figures out when to release its new budget. One thing that I keep hoping for is for the state to take education seriously and moreover the education of foster youth since we only make up about 1% of the population who actually graduate from college.

About the Author:
The Author is a member of CAI’s youth Advisory Board and a full time college student who spent several years in foster care in San Diego, California.


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