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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hello from IOFA's new intern!

I’d like to introduce myself as the new intern at IOFA! I’m so excited to see IOFA’s work and to participate in their innovation. My interest in serving vulnerable adolescents has developed over a number of life experiences and jobs – perhaps most importantly, my family adopted internationally, so I have always been very connected to international child welfare issues and interested in child welfare systems, both locally and abroad. Work has carried me from helping to transition youth to independence from foster care in Miami and the Bronx – which exposed me to trends and terrifying prospects faced by youth in American foster care – to working in international adoption in New York. It was this experience at an adoption agency that inspired me to wonder, then research, and then worry fervently, “What happens to the youth in alternative care internationally who are not adopted? How do they fare?” I traveled to Kenya with these questions, working with adolescents “aging out” of orphanage care in rural Ngong, and was deeply troubled by the barriers and dangers they faced, and frustrated by the dearth of published research and support provided to this population. I enrolled at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and have just returned from Cambodia researching this very issue, about which I have become so impassioned. It is clear to me that adolescents face unique and complex issues that so few social service agencies are equipped to address, and I am thrilled to find IOFA as a tailored expert in protecting this population from trafficking and exploitation. I am excited to be a part of IOFA’s continually expanding project base both domestically and internationally, as the support to vulnerable adolescents is such an important need with such little international attention. I’m sure I’ll be back soon with updates – thanks for reading!
Susan Rosas

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