With the TOMODACHI Initiative’s support, the International Foster Care Alliance (IFCA) has launched a youth leadership program that links former foster care youth from both the United States and Japan. Participants have the opportunity to share their fear-filled childhood with one another, and transcend cultural and linguistic differences to form a strong bond of confidence, resilience, and empowerment.
After the first U.S. team’s visit to Japan in 2013, the U.S. and Japan teams have continued to work together and learn about each other’s foster care systems. Both teams visit each other’s country once a year, and engage in various bonding activities. The goal of the program is to improve the foster care systems in both countries and bring positive changes to the lives of both past and current foster youth.
IFCA is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington that intends to create opportunities for the United States and Japan to engage in discussion and activities to better the child welfare system. They dedicate themselves to serve current and past foster youth, care-gives such as foster parents, and professionals who work in the field of child welfare.
2016 TOMODACHI Foster Youth Leadership Program
In 2016, the TOMODACHI Initiative is supported two trips. From July 29, six members from the Japan team visited the United States for ten days. They engaged in various activities including a visit to a juvenile court and child welfare organizations in Seattle, Washington and San Francisco, California.
From September 2, six members from the U.S. team traveled to Tokyo for ten days to visit a large foster care facility and a child guidance office.
2015 TOMODACHI Foster Youth Leadership Program
Four International Foster Care Alliance (IFCA) members from the United States traveled to Japan from August 28 – September 7, 2015 to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture, particularly the Japanese child welfare system and its history. During their stay, they engaged in various activities with the IFCA Japan Foster Care Alumni Team including a visit to a foster care alumni organization, visited to a group facility for a roundtable with facility staff, presented to social welfare professionals, and attended a TOMODACHI IFCA Foster Youth Summit. Read More>>
TOMODACHI IFCA Foster Youth Summit
On September 6, 2015, approximately 100 participants involved in foster care, gathered in Tokyo to discuss the support provided for the Independent Living Program, discussed differences in foster care in Japan and the United States, and engaged in roundtable discussions with adults about their experiences in foster care.
For more information on the Summit, click here (Japanese only)