Life Lessons From Tough Times In Foster Care

(FOX 11) LOS ANGELES - They were out on their own as teenagers. Two amazing women are telling their stories of tough times in foster care. Both say, for different reasons, they were tossed out of their foster homes. Still, Nicole Childers and Ashley Williams are success stories. Childers became a national television producer. Williams is in law school.

Our story came about after Childers wrote an article for the New York Times. She is now a producer at NPR's Marketplace Morning Report. She was asked the question, "what is your greatest financial lesson?" She took from that painful time in foster care.

According to Childers, at seventeen years old her foster mother said words she'll never forget. "We don't want you hear anymore." She was stunned. Her survival instincts kicked in. She says, that day, she packed up what little stuff she had and turned to a teacher for help.

Childers says she was an "A" student and college bound. She had just a few months left before legally exiting the foster care system. She says the teacher took her in, admitting the teacher wasn't an authorized caregiver.

Childers managed to continue on to college and graduated from an Ivy League school.

The title of her article is, "A Teenager's Harsh Lesson Is An Adult's Buffer." The lesson she took away from that painful time, "always have a back-up plan."

Williams read Childers story and says she can relate. "It was great to see that I wasn't the only one that had that type of resilience."

Williams says she too was suddenly ousted from her foster home. She says she arrived home one day to find her bags packed and her foster mother in tears saying she had to leave. Both Williams and the foster mother blame a now defunct foster care agency. The two have since rekindled their relationship. They remain very close and even spent Mother's Day together.

Like Childers, Williams also moved in with a mentor and readied for college. Scholarships got her through UCLA. She's now at Southwestern Law School.

I asked the head of DCFS about the concept that kids could be kicked out of their foster homes with nowhere to turn. Philip Browning told me that should never happen. If it does, the kids should report to their social worker and to the department of children and family services. He's also concerned about the concept of kids moving into unlicensed homes. Too many have fallen victim to abuse.

Still, Williams and Childers are using their experiences to be a voice for other kids from the system. Williams wants to become a judge. She also helped launch a program at UCLA. The Bruin Guardians Scholars Program is an unofficial family for kids from the system. Plaques, meanwhile, adorn Childers mantle. She received two Edward R. Murrow awards while producing at ABC Network News under anchor Peter Jennings.

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