A Former Foster Child, Now Child Rights Lawyer, Shares Piercing Insight on the Child Welfare System | Podcast Episode 21

Posted on September 14th, 2023

Hear an authentic, piercing, and comprehensive conversation about our nation’s child welfare system and its impact on children, especially children of color.

A nationally known children’s rights lawyer, New York Times best-selling author, and former foster child joins our Child Advocates CEO and attorneys for a critical perspective on what is and isn’t working in our child welfare system and how we can make it better for vulnerable children.

His words are profound, personal, and sometimes heartbreaking as he was “torn from his screaming mother’s arms” at age 7 and spent several years in the child welfare system.

If you care about children, this is a podcast you don’t want to miss. We can all be child advocates. Listen to Your Voice. Their future.





  • How Andrew Bridge overcame abuse in the child welfare system to succeed as a Harvard Law School graduate; children’s rights lawyer; and award-winning author
  • The trauma he experienced as he was ‘torn from his mother’s arms’ because she was mentally ill and poor, and its impact on him as a child and throughout life
  • Why he wrote the book, “Hope’s Boy: A Memoir” and the impact of his mother’s mental illness on their lives
  • His experience in a foster care system in Los Angeles known for its harsh treatment of children
  • The impact of ‘trauma’ on children when they are removed from their homes and placed in the child welfare system, a conversation woven throughout this podcast episode
  • An examination of why officials in the child welfare system remove a child from his or her home and how to prevent the trauma of removal
  • Concerns that some child welfare systems “overinvestigate and overreport” and how that disproportionately impacts Black children and other children of color
  • A discussion about protecting the rights of children and families
  • A conversation supporting child welfare workers but examining the need for improvements in the child welfare system
  • Andrew Bridge discusses two main issues that impact who is placed in the child welfare system
  • Breakdown of disturbing statistics about Black children in the child welfare system and how that impacts their life and future
  • Andrew Bridge says, “Strip it down and follow the money.” A discussion on how money influences care in the child welfare system
  • Andrew Bridge and Child Advocates’ attorneys discuss what changes they believe could help improve the child welfare system
  • Discussion on the importance of educating ourselves about race and racism
  • The critical work of Andrew Bridge as a child rights attorney and consultant
  • What happened to Andrew Bridge’s mother and how his family could have played a role in his life
  • Review of Child Advocates’ Direct Representation Program and how offering older children in the child welfare system their own attorney (as Child Advocates does) could improve their experience in the system and their future
  • The length of time Hoosier children stay in the child welfare system, its impact, and why ‘it needs to be fixed’
  • Andrew Bridge discusses giving parents and children more support and listening to them
  • A discussion on what Andrew calls, “the absolute failure to provide adequate mental health care for kids in foster care.”
  • Why Andrew Bridge says, poignantly, “I didn’t need to stop seeing my Mom. She loved me.”
  • A story Andrew shares from a foster youth about the ‘loneliness’ of being a foster child
  • How we can all be “child advocates” and how you can join us

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