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The constant moving from place to place that a DYFS youth goes through is extremely difficult.  In addition, when a youth is forced to move their personal belongings in garbage bags, it makes them feel like they are the garbage being thrown out.  It is detrimental to their self-worth, and self-confidence when they see all their personal effects in garbage bags. 

Some youth have said this about moving their things in garbage bags:

As a former Foster Care child I’ve moved at least 16 to 18 times. It seems overtime I moved it got more difficult. For me, the most difficult transition was knowing that the way I came in, was the same way I was leaving – with all my belongings in garbage bags. Let me tell you, it felt like I was the garbage being thrown out, and nobody even cared….

If we’re not moving out on the right foot, how do you think it makes us feel moving out with garbage bags?....if children move out with garbage bags, they’ll probably feel like garbage.

I remember moving…with all my stuff – my clothes, my belongings – in garbage bags.. That’s embarrassing….

The members of the Bergen County Youth Advisory Board (YAB) would like make this reality a thing of the past.  Currently, there is no policy governing the manner in which children and youth in the DYFS foster care system move their belongings.  The Bergen County YAB would like to rectify this situation by proposing a “DYFS Moving Policy”. 

This Moving Policy would state that all youth must be provided with a set of luggage when they are moving out of a DYFS placement (this includes foster homes, Professional Parent Homes, or group homes,) regardless of his or her next residence.

If you would like to read all of the testimony from youth who have written about this issue, please visit our other featured article "Youth Experiences: Moving Personal Belongings in Garbage Bags"

If you would like to submit your own story about this issue, please click here