Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) 2023 Foster Youth Internship (FYI) Program

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) 2023 Foster Youth Internship (FYI) Program

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to fully read the 2023 Foster Youth Internship Program Application Information + Instructions before working on their application as it includes important information about the program, eligibility requirements, and application details.

Before applying, please confirm you meet all of the eligibility requirements. It is also recommended applicants write their responses in a separate document – to revise, revisit, and edit – before logging on to complete and submit the online application. A list of questions on the online application form section can be found in the 2023 Foster Youth Internship Program® Application Information + Instructions. 

Important Note: When CCAI receives a completed application in its entirety, CCAI will send a confirmation email to the applicant within two business days to notify that the application has been received.

Application Components

Recommendations

Each application needs two recommendations – one professional and one personal. Your recommenders are asked to complete an online recommendation form (also available via www.bit.ly/2023fyirecommendationform) which includes some skill evaluations as well as an upload for a letter of recommendation. All recommendation forms are due by December 4, 2022 and it is the applicant’s responsibility to both (1) send the online recommendation form link to each recommender and communicate the deadline and (2) confirm with their recommenders if their recommendation has been submitted to CCAI. Allow plenty of time for the recommenders to write the letter, as well as time to follow up with them directly.

Selection Process

Applicants will be notified the evening of January 11, 2023 whether the selection committee has chosen to move forward with their application. The next step in the application process will be an interview via Zoom. Interviews will only be conducted with the top 20-30 applicants during January 17-19, 2023. The 2023 class of Foster Youth Interns will be notified by January 23, 2023 of their acceptance into the program.

2023 Foster Youth Internship Program® Application Schedule

  • September 1, 2022: Applications open
  • December 4, 2022: Applications due
  • January 11, 2023: Notification of application status
  • January 17-19, 2023: Interview period for selected applicants
  • January 23, 2023: 2023 Class of Foster Youth Interns Selected

Important Application Links

Programs and Resident Assistant (PRA)

The Programs and Resident Assistant (PRA) is an integral part of the FYI Program. The PRA is an extension of the CCAI staff and has the most direct and constant contact with the Foster Youth Interns. The PRA must be 21 years or older on or before May 30, 2023. The PRA’s primary responsibilities are to act as a facilitator for the residence hall community and to enhance the social, educational, intellectual, physical, vocational, cultural, and environmental development of each of the program participants. The PRA articulates for the program participants the philosophy and policies of housing and the guidelines of the FYI Program. At the signing of this contract, the PRA represents the CCAI FYI Program, and acts as a role model for interns. The four basic roles of the PRA are: (1) Community Facilitator, (2) Referral Agent, (3) Team Member, and (4) CCAI Representative. The PRA is responsible to CCAI’s Executive Director, CCAI Programs Coordinator, and all other CCAI staff members who will frequent the residence hall and help to manage the program participants.

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The FYI Program began in 2003 as an effort to raise awareness to federal policymakers about the needs and unique perspectives of young adults who have experienced the U.S. foster care system. CCAI works with congressional offices to secure a congressional internship for each intern. In addition, CCAI organizes orientation, retreats, advocacy trainings, and various networking opportunities with experts in child welfare, government, and business. These combined experiences allow the interns to create a policy report that is presented at briefings to Congress, White House, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and released to policymakers and advocates across the country. As a result of the program, federal policymakers learn firsthand the experiences of youth in foster care and go on to use their new knowledge to inspire legislative change to federal child welfare and adoption policy. Interns participating in the FYI Program benefit both personally and professionally, gaining experience and skills that will bolster their careers for years to come.

This is an immersive nine-week, educational, and civic experience. Participants are not considered employees of CCAI nor the congressional office where they are placed for an internship. CCAI provides a weekly stipend funded through donations received for interns, as well as covers major expenses such as housing in Washington, D.C., transportation to/from Washington, D.C., and public transportation to/from the congressional office internship. Interns are responsible for some smaller expenses. Interns are required to live in dormitory-style housing assigned by CCAI for the duration of the program and to adhere to the guidance of their Programs and Resident Assistant (PRA), an alumnus/alumna of the FYI Program.

Congressional Office Internship

Each congressional office placement differs. Please note CCAI does not guarantee that the intern will be assigned projects that are related to child welfare.

Office responsibilities will likely include:

  • Open, sort, and deliver mail
  • Answer phones, greet constituents, run errands, deliver priority letters, and acquire signatures
  • Copy, file, fax, data entry, and work on small legislative projects
  • Work directly with congressional staff to research issues and compose constituent correspondence
  • Attend committee hearings, sit in on meetings, attend press conferences, and take notes
  • Provide constituent services and give tours of the U.S. Capitol
  • Attend and assist with congressional briefings and meetings, including various events organized by CCAI

Policy Report

By applying to and later agreeing to be a part of the FYI Program, you are agreeing to be fully engaged in the intensive congressional policy report writing process of the program. This involves selecting a topic in a timely manner, performing in-depth research, working closely with an advisor, writing, and extensively editing the report. The process involves, but is not limited to, adhering to all report deadlines set forth by CCAI; attendance at and full participation in all mandatory CCAI meetings and briefings; being respectful toward other interns, advisors and the CCAI staff; being open to new ideas and suggestions; and completion of the report and entire internship program.

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Eligibility

Applicants must meet ALL of the following eligibility criteria to be considered for a position in the program. The education requirement is due to the skills expected of congressional interns working on Capitol Hill and writing federal policy recommendations.

  1. Applicants are expected to have strong writing, grammar, and research skills.
  2. Applicants are required to have a strong interest in improving federal child welfare policy.
  3. Applicants are required to have spent at least 12 consecutive months and/or at least a total of 20 months in United States foster care during any point in their lives and be willing to share their experiences to raise awareness and effect change.
  4. Applicants are required to have completed at least four (4) semesters at an accredited institution of higher learning, such as a college, university, or vocational school by the start of the internship on May 30, 2023.
  5. Applicants are required to be currently pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher learning such as a college, university, or vocational school prior to the internship (May 30, 2023) OR have attained a degree at an accredited institution of higher learning such as a college, university, or vocational school within the past two years (on or after May 30, 2021).
  6. Applicants are required to be in Washington, D.C. for the entire duration of the program and participate in all mandatory weekend and evening events. Because of the unique group dynamic, as well as important orientations, training, and end-of-program events, selected participants will not be allowed to arrive to the FYI Program late or leave early. Those considering applying for the 2023 FYI Program with known conflicts with the program dates are encouraged to apply the following year.

For more information, please contact CCAI’s Programs Coordinator, Sara Schleicher, at sara@ccainstitute.org or visit homepage

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