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Role on “The Fosters” prompted actor to help foster children

Actor Hayden Byerly meets past NASW President Suzanne Dworak-Peck, SW, LCSW, ACSW, at the SAMHSA Voice Awards.

Actor Hayden Byerly meets past NASW President Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, at the SAMHSA Voice Awards.

Hayden Byerly admits he did not know much about foster children or social workers until he played a foster child on ABC Family’s popular drama “The Fosters.”

However after being cast in “The Fosters” as Jude Jacob,  a foster child fleeing an abusive family, Byerly did research on the foster care system. He is  now committed to raising awareness about foster care and doing something to help foster children in the real world.

“I think everything about foster children surprised me,” said Byerly, 13, who said he discovered foster children are more likely to become homeless or attempt to commit suicide.

Byerly was the guest of the National Association of Social Workers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 2014 Voice Awards, which were held August 13 at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The Voice Awards go to individuals who help people living with mental illness and addictions and TV shows and movies that help educate the public about mental health issues and addictions.

Byerly and “Parenthood” actor Tyree Brown, 10, gave the final award of the night to the TV program “Mike & Molly” for the episode “Mind Over Molly.” In that episode Molly (actress Melissa McCarthy) reluctantly visits a therapist to work through issues she had with her deceased father. It was fitting the program closed with two young people because the theme of this year’s award was learning about young adult behavioral healthy.

Before presenting the award Byerly took took time to give the National Association of Social Workers a shout out. “I would like to thank the National Association of Social Workers who arranged my appearance,” he said.

Byerly is no stranger to NASW. Earlier this year his publicists met with several NASW members by conference call to discuss a proposed hprogram to donate duffel bags or backpacks to foster children, who often have to move on short notice and need luggage to store their belongings.

The young actor wants to work directly with social workers or social work programs to deliver the duffel bags or backpacks. However, he has had trouble finding corporate sponsors to donate the gear.

If you you can help Byerly’s foster care program please email



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  1. I think that it is very important that the younger generation is educated on foster care. I find it very promising that young people are getting involved and are passionate about the issue. When most people think of orphans they think of babies and young kids getting adopted. Older children in foster care are often overlooked and people do not know about the many issues they face. This is why I think it is great for the new generation to learn about foster care and advocate for it, especially young people in the media spotlight. This can help bring light to the issues and make the general public care more about foster kids and the conditions they live in.

    Miami University, OH

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