May is National Foster Care Month: "Thank You Kellie Pickler!" American Idol Finalist

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“Kellie Pickler is a role model for teens in foster/kinship care, "says Beth O’Malley, foster care social worker, former foster baby and author of teen lifebooks. “If she can do it, having a father in prison, a mother who abandoned her as a toddler, and losing the grandmother who helped raise her, she brings hope to others with early trauma and loss.”

“Kellie Pickler is a role model for teens in foster/kinship care. It's her voice which will determine whether or not she wins or loses not her difficult life,” says Beth O’Malley, foster care social worker, former foster baby and author of teen lifebooks, “If she can do it, having a father in prison, a mother who abandoned her as a toddler, and losing the grandmother who helped raise her, she brings hope to others with early trauma and loss.

“I’m amazed by her voice, not just her ability to sing but to speak without shame about her life and losses,” she says. O’Malley adds that a number of famous actors and singers have spent time in foster care or were raised by relatives such as Jamie Foxx, John Lennon, Eddie Murphy, Cher, James Dean and Ice-T.

O’Malley knows about teenagers in foster/kinship care. She has worked with them for the past twenty-two years. Her mission is to help children and young adults to make sense of their own life story via life story books. So, she’s excited to see a current and popular teen role model speak about her own life.

Currently, over 500,000 youths live in foster care in the United States. Approximately 50% of them are over age ten and 25% live with relatives according to Casey Family Programs, a national child welfare foundation providing services and advocacy for those in foster care. For these teens, having a role model who talks openly about her life is a rare and needed dose of inspiration. O’Malley hopes the combination of Pickler’s success on American Idol and National Foster Care Month work together to increase coverage of teenagers living in foster care.

O’Malley, who has just released a newly edited version of For When I’m Famous: A Teen Foster Lifebook, says, “Pickler is someone who has lived a difficult life but hasn’t been defined by it.” Indeed, she’s just the type of teen O’Malley had in mind when she wrote her book’s opening page which reads, “You never know if you might be famous (like a singer or basketball star) someday. You can read these pages and be able to remember what your life was like.”

For When I’m Famous is a tool created for professionals who work with teens living in foster/kingship care. It was created by O’Malley, who is not only a social worker but someone who was in foster care. Plus, she had the book reviewed by teenagers to keep the tone open, honest and real.

For more information about Beth O’Malley, her titles, especially For When I’m Famous: A Teen Foster Lifebook, go to: http://adoptionlifebooks.com/fostercare_lifebooks.htm. To arrange for an interview with O’Malley or to get a review copy of For When I’m Famous, contact Cissy White at (781)331-4679.

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