Blavin Scholars

Your Words Matter

"For as long as I can remember I have been referred to as a foster child, foster care alumni, foster kid, or student from foster care. When I was in care and was referred to as a foster kid, I thought that was all I was ever going to be. I would much prefer that you say that I experienced foster care, because I did. I experienced being removed from my parents, I experienced moving between placements, but those are just a few of my experiences. I've experienced the fear and excitement of going to college...[among many other things]...I am from so many more experiences than just foster care and I can think of a thousand other identities I would rather be referred to than a former foster kid." - Student, Keynote Speaker, Fostering Success Michigan Summit 2014

While each individual has their own unique preferences of how they would like to be addressed, when working with students who have experienced foster care, it is a best practice to use person-first language that describes foster care as an active experience as opposed to a mythical place where kids go or as a label to describe young people. Instead of saying foster care youth, foster kid, foster child, try using the language student who experienced foster care.

For more information about inclusive, person-first, language check out the Inclusive Language Campaign, a new student initiative.