Using a Podcast to Raise Awareness for Issues within the Foster System and Lift the Voices of Ex-Foster Youth

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Vasudeva, Serena
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
For this Honors creative thesis, I recorded, edited, and produced a podcast in which I interviewed people about their experience with foster care. The intent of the podcast was to make information about the foster system more accessible, make current and previous foster youth visible, and hold residential treatment facilities accountable for abuse and neglect. Most of the sources interviewed were ex-foster youth or adoptees but also included were a previous Tennessee Department of Children’s Services worker, an adoptive parent, and an individual who was “restraint trained” to protect people from harm. Prominent topics included restraints, seclusions, family court, revictimization in foster care, and mental health. Over seven episodes, the podcast grows the body of knowledge about foster care while including reforms and changes that ex-foster youth would like to see implemented in residential treatment facilities, group homes, and traditional care. A continuation of the podcast series would expand to more testimonies from ex-foster youth about group and residential homes and discussions about the representation of current and previous foster youth in popular media.