June 10, 2021

Key Takeaways from our Virtual Panel: "The Power of Narratives to Change Systems: A New Story for Foster Care"

Read the insights from our panel and watch the recording

Narratives shape the way we view others and the way we view ourselves. Stories and narratives can create shifts in mindsets. This can lead to new ways of relating to one another, which can ultimately lead to shifts in power that drive not just systems change, but new system building!

We were fortunate to bring together three incredibel communications experts and thought leaders from around the country to share their insights about narrative change:

- LaTeesha Pinkney, Parent, Professional, Self-Advocate, and Entrepreneur
- Benjamin Carlton, Co-Founder, BMe Community and Interim Chief Officer of Equity, Friends of the Children
- Marisa Gerstein Pineau, Principle Researcher and Strategist, FrameWorks Institute

We were inspired by what was shared from our panelists – and the great exchange of ideas from our audience members. Here are a few highlights:

LaTeesha Pinkney challenged all of us to think bigger and invest in entrepreneurship and non-traditional pathways for youth impacted by foster care, meeting them where they are and creating a blueprint that goes beyond surviving to thriving.

Benjamin Carlton asked us to undo what we already know, noting that most of the foster care reform solutions being brought to the table are centered on false narratives rather than on the real narratives and stories being told by the human beings that are most impacted by the foster care system.

Marisa Gerstein Pineau shared more about FrameWorks' incredible work to change narratives for transition age foster youth, emphasizing the importance of narratives that highlight expanded opportunities and explain the racial and economic disparities that shape the experience of youth impacted by foster care.

Moving forward, we all committed to centering our narratives and our work on individuals with "lived expertise" in recognition of a major theme that came through our discussion: The Individuals most impacted by the system – especially youth and their families – are the experts. They don't just need to be heard. They need to be in positions of influence and power to make the changes that will matter most.

If you would like to watch the full panel discussion or share it on your social media channels, you can watch it here on our YouTube channel. To learn more about Friends of the Children's work in foster care visit our Foster Care page. We hope you'll join us for the next #FosterOurFuture panel discussion.