Changing the narrative around foster care with Hollywood’s help
By Spectrum News Staff Los Angeles
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Aug. 29, 2022
More than half the people in America believe that children are in foster care because they have done something wrong, according to recent polls. Foster youth are viewed as delinquents, unfit for loving homes.
For more than three decades, Jennifer Perry has made it her mission to change that perception and open people’s eyes to the truth: Children are placed in foster care by no fault of their own, and are sometimes victims of abuse or neglect.
In the latest episode of “LA Stories,” she opens up to host Giselle Fernandez about what drives this mission.
“I started to see these youth and the potential that they had,” she said. “They needed support and guidance along the way — and resources.”
As the executive director of Children’s Action Network and co-founder of FosterMore, Perry uses her connections in Hollywood and politics to change the narrative around foster youth and share stories in order to show the world who they really are: kids in need of loving, supporting families.
By partnering with celebrities and creating campaigns, Perry brings much needed attention to the cause and is changing perspectives of these youth.
“When we started doing what we were doing, people really didn’t know who foster youth were. They lived in the shadows. And over time there has been an increased focus,” she said. “And it has made a real difference in what people are thinking about youth in foster care.”
For Perry, her work became personal when she herself adopted her daughters through foster care. She and her husband, Andy Spahn, were at the peak of their careers when they decided to become foster parents. When the girls came to their home for a weekend visit, Perry says she and her husband fell in love with them and adopted the girls.
While there have been challenges, Perry considers it an extraordinary experience.
“The minute that we told them they were going to be adopted…they flipped a switch, and they immediately started calling us mom and dad,” she said. “I can’t imagine not being parents.”