Letter: Gara’s support for foster kids is making a difference

Rep. Les Gara has worked to improve the lives of Alaska’s neglected youth and foster children. Foster youth face daily hurdles after the state separates them from troubled, often abusive families. But that leads youth into a system without enough foster parents, and who are then damaged by being bounced between temporary homes. 

The good news is we’ve worked on many successful reforms.

We’ve collected over 300 laptops for youth so they can succeed academically and maintain important family connections. Thanks to all who’ve donated. 

Les led efforts to begin mentorship for older youth so they’ll have a responsible adult in their lives after leaving care. He works and talks with youth to give them hope and guidance. He’s worked with legislators in both parties, and helped me, as an advocate, to do the same — something I’ve enjoyed. We’ve succeeded at legislation to get youth job training, into college and to find them stable homes. 

Unfortunately, there’s more work to do. Fostering success is humane. And it’s cheaper than jail or public assistance.

— Amanda Metivier

executive director,

Facing Foster Care in Alaska