Alumna Testifies on Behalf of Children in Foster Care

by Sarah Bartlett Borich ’02

Lindsay Stone ’08 knows what it’s like to be a foster child. She knows of the many difficulties such “wards of the court” face, including the struggle to obtain health benefits once you get too old to be part of the foster care system.

That’s why this Cedarville University social work graduate appreciated the unique opportunity she recently had to testify before the Ohio State Senate Insurance Committee during her senior field placement. While working in Columbus with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), her office was called upon to provide support for a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage for children aging out of the foster care system. Stone found herself in the perfect position to testify on the issue, having experienced the same circumstances firsthand as well as through additional Cedarville field experience.

“I knew what these foster children were going through,” Stone explains. “After my father passed away during my junior year of high school, I was never adopted, and upon the age of 18, I no longer received health benefits.” Stone had also completed related field work in Dayton the previous year, working with the Independent Living Program for teens who were aging out of foster care and establishing their adult lives.

During the session, Stone spoke to each member of the committee, sharing her own circumstances both as a child who went through the foster care system and as a woman who had worked with these kids. She emphasized not only the potential impact of passing this bill but also the message of support that the legislators would convey — that they want to see youth in disadvantaged situations succeed. Stone says, “I feel that those who have experienced hardships that place them into limited settings outside of their control should be given equal access to basic amenities that otherwise would be given had they been born into the ‘right’ family.”

The Ohio legislators and Stone’s field instructors were extremely impressed with her testimony. “Not only did Lindsay rise to the occasion, but she lit up the room with her eloquence and maturity,” said field instructor Susan Deardowski, government relations associate for NASW. “As she presented her thoughts, my heart swelled with pride for not only NASW but Cedarville University and the entire profession of social work as well.”

A native of Portland, Oregon, Stone transferred to Cedarville from Word of Life Bible Institute, choosing to study social work because she felt she had a deeper understanding of various hardships and that God would use her in the lives of others in a powerful way. She believes her education at Cedarville has greatly prepared her for this career and calling.

“My time at Cedarville consisted not merely of growth in knowledge, but also of development of a person and a professional,” she says. “It gave me the confidence to wholeheartedly pursue the Lord’s leading in my life in the area of social justice and change.”

Currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work in the Advanced Standing Program at The Ohio State University, Stone was recently elected as student representative for NASW’s Ohio Chapter. She looks forward to the work God has for her in her chosen field.

“While our pasts can be complicated and difficult, even as we look to establish our futures, it is neither wise nor beneficial to forget where our origins lie,” says Stone. “I believe it’s God-honoring to recognize and remember where He has brought us so that our faith is all the more solidified based on the paths we walked.”

For Stone, the path He brought her through inspired a passion to be an advocate and a willingness to be a voice for individuals in circumstances she was able to identify with because of personal experience.

“God created me to be a determined, intelligent, and compassionate individual who desires to stimulate change in serious areas of need,” she concludes. “I view the Lord using me in the field of social work as a means of giving back just some of the talents and abilities He has blessed me with for ‘His good pleasure.’”

The social work program at Cedarville University integrates biblical concepts and values with a core of professional curriculum, allowing students to respond to human needs from a scriptural world- and life-view. This careful integration is essential to developing Christian social workers who are caring, committed, and competent. The program’s accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education was reaffirmed in June 2002.