Langevin Participates in Foster Youth Shadow Day

May 26, 2016 Issues: Children and Families

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, participated in the fifth annual “Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day” yesterday. Randy Colon of Providence spent the day with Langevin, joining foster youth alumni from across the country that traveled to Capitol Hill to shadow members of Congress and share their own experiences in the child welfare system.

“Randy has encountered more adversity in his 21 years than any person should face. Despite these challenges, he is a strong and independent young man who is in the process of creating a successful life for himself,” said Langevin. “I am so inspired and impressed by Randy, and his story of resilience and perseverance is mirrored in the stories of many other foster youth. They deserve better, and Foster Youth Shadow Day is an important reminder of why we must do more to promote permanency for all children.”

Colon experienced six placements in nine years before aging out of the foster care system. While in the system, he bounced around from placement to placement, including group homes and residential programs. Now living independently, Colon is working full-time and is studying to become a veterinarian.

Colon met Langevin to discuss foster care and what can be done to improve the system. He also met with members of Langevin’s staff and learned more about the Congressman’s responsibilities in Washington. Colon later accompanied Langevin to a meeting of the House Committee on Homeland Security and around the halls of Congress. Throughout the day, Colon shared photographs of his Washington, D.C., experience that were posted on the Congressman’s Instagram account, @RepJimLangevin.

When Langevin was growing up, his parents served as foster parents to several youth, giving him a unique perspective on the difference a loving home can make in the life of a child. In Congress, he has worked to address many of the obstacles faced by foster youth, including the high incidence of identity theft. Langevin authored legislation, which became law in 2011, that mandated free credit checks for foster youth before they age out of the system, and assistance in clearing any inaccuracies from their records. He also introduced the Protecting Adopted Children Act, which aims to curb the practice of adopted children being privately “re-homed” into the custody of strangers without oversight.

“A safe, loving, stable home is the foundation upon which children can build their lives. A sense of security – feeling like you are ‘home’ – can empower a young person to forge meaningful relationships and set goals for the future, and every single child deserves that opportunity to succeed,” Langevin continued. “I will continue to be a strong advocate on behalf of foster youth nationwide, and I hope Randy’s story and the stories shared by all of the participants will inspire my colleagues in Congress to join the ongoing effort to improve our foster care system.”

Learn more about Foster Youth Shadow Day on Twitter with the hashtag #FosterYouthVoices.