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Former Foster Youth Discusses Her Experiences

A young girl of 13 years tells a family secret and lands herself in foster care. Little did she know the process of being 'taken' and put into foster care, but she could not even imagine the horrific experience of not being with her little brothers.

She and her brothers were separated from each other.

What goes on at home stays at home, right? When a child has been abused or neglected, he or she may not know that divulging the secret would mean being taken from your family and placed with strangers. A young girl may just think she may get a reprieve from the goings on of the home by venting or confiding, or simply answering questions by someone in authority.

A child may imagine getting help for her family or may even think that telling the story would create a feeling of safety. Perhaps confiding in an adult would mean having a sounding board for your problems.

Melissa lived a sheltered life.

She disclosed information that directed a mandated reporter make a phone call. That phone call changed her life forever. Now she was labeled as a foster child in a group home.

Her first night in a group home was nothing like she could have imagined. Why was a young 13-year-old girl placed into a group home without the chance at a foster family with others her age? What made a social worker decide this separation from siblings was the best decision? The worker's decision separated her from her family and placed her alone in a group home with strangers who were already accustomed to their lives as foster children.

Why couldn't she go with her brothers? Did that foster family not want a teenager or a girl?

You'll hear a true story about this and much more in the interview I did with Melissa Smallwood. Her story screams incredible success that she worked so hard to accomplish. She beat the odds that declare a foster child will not attend college. Melissa beat the odds that decree a foster child would be homeless after being emancipated. She beat all the odds that say foster children do not get graduate degrees.

Beating the Odds of Foster Care

Melissa not only beat these odds, but now she serves others as a counselor specializing in helping the very children and families that find themselves in the situations she found herself in all those years ago.

Watch this interview to find out...

  1. The secret experiences of being a foster youth.

  2. What did her foster parents do well?

  3. What could the foster parents have done better?

  4. How foster parents should make a child feel when entering their home as s guest.

  5. How can foster children transition from being a 'foster child' to a foster/adoptive parent?

Rather listen as a podcast? Here's the link to that:


After you watch this video, let me know something you learned that has changed your perspective on foster parenting or your role in a local church.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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