I was a foster youth who aged out of care and became homeless at age 18.
Foster care leaves a mark. The longer a child or youth spends in care, the deeper that mark is. The consequences can be great. I spent over four years in care and aged out, becoming homeless within 4 months. Everything I have I’ve built paycheck by paycheck. I still own no property and I lost my family of origin through complications of separation & trauma via the child welfare system. I found out at age 48 that my father was not my biological father, and finally understood why the family dynamics were what they were. I walked away clean, knowing I was to blame for nothing.
I have worked in public child welfare agencies, informally known as CPS, for over 8 years. I was drawn to the work as a result of my experience. I once tried to work within the system to bring strategic and empowering change, but that system has resisted for too long. In 2020 I came to embrace my story and thus a full-throated advocacy was born within me. I no longer tremble in fear, asking nicely in whispers for the change I seek. Now I sting entrenched power as a Socratic Gadfly and I seek the protection of all vulnerable and traumatized people as the Mother of Dragons.
If you need protection and a chance to thrive in this world, you might be one of my dragons. If your family kept secrets and you prefer to live out loud, this place is for you. This space is for all the people who don’t have loving families of origin to share their lives with. It’s for people who’ve felt alone, abandoned, were raised by extended family, been in foster care, worked in foster care, provided care for someone or some being in need despite the personal cost, people who’ve been in need, and anyone who has been watching and hiding and whispering and waiting. This is where you can come into the light and own who you are and what you want. We’ll do it together.
Let’s work together to create ecosystems that support the survival and protection of all humans. Universal protection and family well-being are the paths to prevention of so many human sorrows.
Bio for Media: Belle Pfau is the Training Manager for National Center for Innovation and Excellence, part of the Brevard Family Partnership Family of Agencies located in Brevard County, Florida. She has worked in child welfare for 9 years. Belle was previously a foster youth who aged out of the system. Belle Pfau holds a Master of Jurisprudence degree from Indiana University McKinney School of Law. Her ultimate professional goal is to help public child welfare agencies walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk, of transformation. Her ultimate personal goal is to initiate a larger discussion about universal protection and family well-being.
NPE (Not parent expected) /MPE (Misattributed Paternity Event) Resources:
Right To Know Movement
Severance Magazine, a community for people separated from biological family