Lost In Child Welfare
In this memoir, 30-year-old Ashley shares her experience in foster care from the ages of four through fifteen. Ashley opens up about spine-chilling events that she has now processed in various sessions of therapy and trial and error in life. She struggled to open up when she was young, and now hopes to help others see her truth. Here is the most humbling experience of her life. A time where she only imagined the position she holds today with self-love, passion, success, dreams and love. To learn to deal with self-hate, depression, anxiety and loving herself through the struggles she’s endured as a child she pens, “I am proud, hopeful, free and still learning through experienced traumas. Though my strength is obvious-I recognize there are many things to overcome.
Coalition Staff Member Review
Imagine having the courage and conviction of sharing your personal journey of growing up in foster homes and group homes from the time you were four years of age until you were 15. This is precisely what author, Ashley Stokes writes about her memoir, Lost in Child Welfare.
Being a child in care can certainly be a confusing and unpredictable experience. During her time in care, Ashley was placed in over 50 foster homes and group homes and had at least 25 different social workers. From Chapter Two, Ashley recalled when she and her sister were initially placed into foster care; she was only four years old and her sister was three years old:
“Suddenly we were getting our clothes, shoes, and like-new coats on from the family down the street as if we were dressing to go outside. Black bags, they were what I called my new travel luggage. Instead of suitcases, we literally put all our possessions in black bags.”
Ashley describes how she felt like oftentimes her voice was not heard and that decisions were made for her without her input. However, Ashley fondly described an individual who went out of his way to ask her what she wanted to happen. That individual was Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Cimpl.
Judge Cimpl asked Ashley what she wanted to happen. Her response was direct and to the point, “I don’t know yet but I am certain I don’t want to be in foster care any longer.”
Ashley kept a journal throughout her childhood and into her adolescence, where she documented her experiences and expressed her feelings. Ashley still has her journal and utilized her journal in the creation of her memoir, Lost in Child Welfare. Complex emotional topics are disclosed and discussed by the author, including:
• Grief and Loss
• Complex Trauma
• Mental Health & Emotional Well-Being
• Suicidal Ideation
• Abuse & Neglect
Ashley Stokes’s personal story is one of heartbreak and hope. One of her goals is to provide a voice to the voiceless. In her book, she writes about inspirational adults who made a positive impact in her life and she strives to advocate for positive changes to the Child Welfare System. This book is just the beginning of her personal journey toward invoking positive change.
I definitely recommend Lost in Child Welfare. Foster parents can gain valuable insights from a former youth in care as she shares her personal perspective of growing up way too fast in foster care and congregate care. Ashley’s courage and resiliency shine through what was an unimaginable childhood experience.
Author: Ashley S. Stokes