One of the major reasons that the foster care system has yet to be reformed is due to the lack of attention to it. However, a young man named Anthony Pico seeks to change that through advocacy. This second podcast I listened to details how Anthony effortlessly explains his life in the foster care system. Anthony’s story is far from joyful but he still manages to insert pieces of humor as his story goes on, forcing anyone who listens to become sucked into what he’s saying.
There are a few key factors when it comes to the foster care system in regards to the teens leaving it at age 18. After leaving the system, almost 70% end up dropping out of high school, 50% loose health insurance and nearly half of the females end up pregnant. While Anthony has a very intense understanding of these statistics, he continues public speaking in order to spread awareness and keep himself far away from being another statistic. What’s really admirable about Anthony is that, when he was rejected from school due to not having all of the necessary paperwork, he did his legal homework and ended up acting like his own “pushy parent” by emailing the school district, his lawyer and several other upstanding people in order to get back into school.
However, Anthony’s life isn’t full of success and potential, which are two of his least favorite words. In reality, his life is incredibly broken but not as much as those who fall under the statistics. The narrator details how Anthony was 18 yet nowhere near graduating high school due to moving schools so much. He detailed how there was rarely an adult at the group home, which is another reason why Anthony loved public speaking. It gave him a chance to be under the protection of adults and to avoid the roommates at the group home he never spoke to. Uncertainty, anxiety and the inability to trust his own internal choices plagued Anthony to the point that he still seemed like a child despite all of the advocacy work he does.
For lack of better words, it’s foster kids like Anthony that causes the legislation to think that the system is okay when it’s far from it. Anthony seems like an exceptional kid from the outside but inside, he struggles to cope with his past. Luckily, rather than keeping up the facade, Anthony advocates and teaches legislators about the realities of foster care kids like himself. Only time will tell if they listen to advocates like Anthony.