TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — A group of Tampa Bay area middle and high school students are advocating for children in foster care through the See Us Now organization.
The Christian-based organization is fighting for more safe, consistent housing for foster kids. Students ages 11 to 17 have met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to bring attention to the more than 400,000 foster children who are suffering across the U.S.
“It’s a nationwide crisis, a silent crisis and no one hears about it,” said Jago Stokes, a See Us Now student participant.
According to the organization’s founder, Kari Wagner, foster children are being moved every couple of days, cutting down on their ability to attend school, receive services or even know where they will sleep and eat each night.
Wagner says more foster kids are getting lost in the system, being trafficked in the sex trade or being kept with unsafe parents, which has led to some deaths.
See Us Now students have completed hundreds of service hours advocating for the issue. Lawmakers awarded their commitment through Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Medals.
“There is nobody advocating for them so that’s when these guys said if their parents can’t or won’t and nobody else is, then we will,” Wagner said.