WUNC: Life After Foster Care

APR 27, 2016

More than 400,000 children in the United States are living in foster care. The statistics about what happens to these children later in life are startling: only about 50 percent finish high school, less than 10 percent go on to higher education. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an exception to this statistic, but she has devoted her life’s work to speaking out on behalf of her many former foster care siblings who continue to struggle.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Rhodes-Courter, author of “Three Little Words” (Simon Pulse/2008) and “Three More Words,”(Atheneum/2015) about her 10 years in foster care and her work as social worker and advocate. She will be speaking at fundraising events for the Children’s Home Society on Thursday, April 28 in Greensboro, Thursday, May 5 in Raleigh, and Thursday, May 12 in Charlotte.

MSU’s 2016 Maroon Edition book focuses on finding, embracing the power of one’s voice

STARKVILLE, Miss.— The inspirational story of a woman overcoming her troublesome early years in foster care is Mississippi State’s 2016 Maroon Edition book selection.

Published in 2008 by Simon and Schuster, international bestselling author Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s “Three Little Words: A Memoir” grew out of her award-winning essay that was published in 2003 by New York Times Magazine. Continue reading

Foster Focus Magazine: Babies Don’t Belong Under the Christmas Tree: An Open Letter from an Adult Adoptee

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In what they described as “one of the most magical experiences,” a Texas family posted a video on social media of their three daughters seeing their new baby brother for the first time. Captions accompanying the viral announcement included: “Sisters find newly-adopted baby brother under the tree,” “Parents hide new son under the Christmas tree for daughters,” and “Sisters’ adoption surprise!”

The children and family seem thrilled, but as an adult adoptee, adoptive mother, and social worker, I cringed and wished this family had been given better counsel. Not wanting to be hasty or “overly sensitive,” I asked professional peers and child advocates for their opinion. Most agreed that this video sends a variety of disturbing message to those not familiar with the intricacies of adoption. It was also the general consensus that surprising family members with a human being is not advised under any circumstance. Continue reading


rom foster kid to foster parent. Her memoir, Three Little Words became a NYT bestseller when Ashley was 22. It is currently being made into a major motion picture. Her new book, Three More Words was just released and debuted as a #1 Bestseller on Amazon.

Ashley is young, energetic, and inspiring. She overcame a childhood of abuse and neglect and beat all odds to become an outstanding advocate and voice for children.

Her stories are shocking, compelling, and motivating. Tune in to hear about her journey. She is simply amazing!

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An Interview with Ashley Rhodes Courter


Shorecrest’s Guardian ad Litem service club sits down with Ashley Rhodes-Courter before her talk at the school. Each year, Shorecrest Preparatory School collects gifts and necessities for children in the Guardian ad Litem program for the holidays…


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5 MSW@USC Graduates Who Are Making a Difference

MSW@USC graduates leave our program ready to create significant change in their communities and throughout the world. Our rigorous curriculum prepares students to be leaders in social work, and the variety of our focused concentration areas allows students to individualize their coursework based on their own unique goals and aspirations. Graduates are passionate about making a difference, and the MSW@USC program gives them the tools to do just that. The following five MSW@USC graduates are great examples of how our students have used their education and experience in unique and innovative ways.


1. Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Concentration: Families and Children

Born to a single mother, Ashley Rhodes-Courter entered Florida’s foster care system when she was 3 years old. After moving between 14 different homes, she was finally adopted when she was 12. Despite her challenges, Ashley is a firm believer that “it’s not enough to complain about something if you’re not willing to be a part of the solution.” Now an MSW@USC graduate, Ashley commits herself to advocating for other foster children. She wrote a memoir about her challenging childhood,Three Little Words, which is now being made into a major motion picture. Her second book, Three More Words, was published in June and expands on life beyond the foster care system. Through her perseverance, Ashley has become an internationally recognized speaker on foster care, adoption, education, child welfare, human rights, families, youth advocacy, women’s issues and overcoming adversity.


It’s not enough to complain about something if you’re not willing to be a part of the solution.


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