Today, First Lady Melania Trump participated in a virtual roundtable with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Foster Youth Intern Group. Mrs. Trump was joined by 12 foster youth interns, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson, and other administration officials for a briefing on the policy solutions and report the interns have been working on during their summer internship program.
In 2003, The Foster Youth Intern (FYI) Program was initiated to raise awareness to federal policymakers about the needs and views of children in the foster care system. The FYI Program interns spend time in a Congressional office researching policy issues affecting children in foster care. The interns then create a policy report that is presented to Members of Congress and released to child welfare advocates across the United States.
The First Lady opened the virtual roundtable thanking everyone for their participation and stressed to the interns the importance of their policy proposals and for the group to “let us know how the Executive Branch can better support foster children and families” and that “taking care of America’s children is a bipartisan effort, and we must never stop fighting for those who need us the most.”
Assistant Secretary Johnson provided remarks on the mission and work of the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The interns then briefed the First Lady and participants on their policy suggestions and emphasized the need for increased funding from Congress for access to technology and broadband services, transitional housing, and an increase in access for Social Workers, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The First Lady concluded by thanking the interns and emphasized that “…taking the time to understand what needs to change in order to support children and families, you have translated your experiences and your passion into action. Now, it is up to us to advance proposals like these, so that children and caregivers can see the benefits of your advocacy. As you continue to pursue your dreams, stay strong and know that we are all cheering for you.”
Lynn Johnson, Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Joshua Christian, Administration for Children and Families Intern and Former foster child
Kellyanne Conway, Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor
Brooke Rollins, Assistant to the President and Acting Director for Domestic Policy
Paige Agostin, Associate Director of Policy for the Office of the Vice President
Taylor Draddy, CCAI Foster Youth Intern Coordination Staff