Growing Up On One's Own

RIPR – What images come to mind when you think of your family during your childhood and adolescent years? Do you reminisce about annual holiday gatherings, summer vacations, or perhaps parental support during heartbreaking crises? The most fortunate among us have years' worth of memories of nurturing families that helped sustain us during those challenging passages. Now try to imagine growing up without any of those essential family supports, growing up pretty much on one's own. Well, that's exactly what happened with Dee Saint Franc.

Dee Saint Franc entered the care of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth & Families at age 7. She is now 22. While in state care, Dee was placed in group homes and with foster families. Dee has served on Rhode Island's Legislative Joint Task Force on the Education of Children and Youth in the Care of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. She also serves as Rhode Island's Delegate to the New England Youth Coalition, the nation's only Regional Youth Leadership Board, which works hand in hand with Directors and Commissioners of the New England states' child welfare agencies. Dee received her Associate's Degree in Business Management from Johnson & Wales University and is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work Program at Rhode Island College. She is employed by the Rhode Island Foster Parents Association.

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