I attended the 23rd Annual Colloquium of American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) in Boston, from July 23rd to 24th 2015. Many professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, scholars, and researchers gathered from all around the States and held insightful workshops and presentations.
I was accompanied by 3 other alumni members from IFCA’s U.S. and Japan team. We held a workshop titled, “Fostering Well-Being: Perspectives of Youth and Alumni of Foster Care”, which focused on the importance of improving mental health services for foster youth and alumni. Our co-presenter, Dr. Monica Fitzgerald and Dr. Shannon Self-Brown, have shared their views on the topic based on their professional perspectives.
We four shared our life stories and experiences while we were in child welfare care, and how mental health support has or should have impacted our lives. We talked about good and bad examples of mental health support based on our own experiences. We also convinced the audience that one-way communication from mental health professional (such as psychiatrist or psychologists) to foster youth is good for nothing, but giving feedback about the treatment, teaching how to cope with mental problems, and stressing the importance of mental well-being would be really helpful for those in or aged out from care.
At first, I was very nervous to present in front of the highly renowned professionals who came from across America. I was even not aware of the response of the audience while I was giving my speech, because I looked at nothing but my manuscript held in my hands.
But afterwards, I was given a chance to talk with the audience. They really appreciated and agreed with my presentation, so I felt energized and felt a great accomplishment. It was one of my proudest moments after I moved from Japan to America in the beginning of July. (It’s only been a month and a few days since I moved in, though.)
It is my great honor to have held a workshop at an APSAC annual colloquium, and I really want to thank Mr. Frank Vandervort, president of APSAC, for making this happen and for inviting us to the next year’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network Conference.
I would also like to show my gratitude to our co-presenter, Dr. Monica Fitzgerald and Dr. Shannon Self-Brown. Without their help, we could have not been able to make this workshop a success.
As one of IFCA’s three core programs, our youth and alumni team will continuously work on collaborating with supportive adults and especially professionals. I really look forward to continue taking part in advocacy for foster youth and alumni around the globe.