We are all learning to find our voices. The power of speaking our truth has never been more evident or more important. A participant action research study conducted by youth in foster care with the guidance of Dr. Leslie Ponciano of Hope Education Research Solutions and Zaid Gayle of Peace4Kids was published in 2013 to hear directly from the voices of youth in foster care about their experiences. Recently, a dozen doctoral students reviewed the 128 articles published in the academic journal, Action Research, over the prior five years. Each student engaged in a rigorous process to choose the article that he/she felt best exemplified the purpose and vision of action research. We are proud to announce that our article was selected for the first annual Student Choice Awards by Melinda Fuller, a PhD student at the University of the Incarnate Word. Please enjoy her blog about our article and read the original research article which is temporarily available for free download by Sage in honor of the award.
This research gave youth in foster care the opportunity to speak their truth. A related study is currently in progress in which a new group of youth in foster care crafted a survey to understand the perception the public holds about youth in foster care. What do people know about foster care? Do they know anyone with a foster care experience? Does the media inform the public about children in foster care and, if so, what messages are they sending? An understanding of public perception can inform government institutions, community-based organizations, foundations, and direct services to improve the investment we all make in this vulnerable population who are rarely given the opportunity to share their voices. We look forward to sharing the results of this new project this year. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to both research studies for speaking your truth!