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The Marshall Project Inside ·

Paying for Their Own Foster Care

Episode 3 of Inside Story examines the conflict between legality and morality when states take money intended for foster children.

In Episode 3 of Inside Story, our video series for people in prisons and jails, we look at how foster care agencies use federal funds intended for some of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

Host Lawrence Bartley speaks with Malerie Shockley, who spent years in the Alaska foster care system and discovered by chance that the state was collecting benefits owed to her — money that could have helped her pay for safe housing and other essentials. Bartley also hears from Marshall Project Managing Editor Geraldine Sealey, who explains how state agencies comb through their files to find children who are eligible for these benefits. And Professor Daniel Hatcher from the University of Baltimore Law School discusses how children aren’t being notified when their funds are taken and describes legislation intended to protect them.

If you are incarcerated or work or volunteer in a correctional facility and are interested in showing Inside Story in your prison or jail, please contact

Host and Executive Producer Lawrence Bartley

Director Donald Washington, Jr.

Director of Photography Adam Giese

Additional Photography Donald Washington, Jr.

Editor Donald Washington, Jr.

Consulting Producers Ruth Baldwin and Geraldine Sealey

Archival Getty Images, Pond5, Alaska Office of Children and Family Services

Donald Washington, Jr. Email is the director and executive producer of Inside Story, a video series designed to reach audiences both inside and outside of prison walls. He is a self-taught filmmaker who honed his skills working with local Brooklyn artists and grassroots organizations. Donald holds a graduate degree from the New York Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree from Mercy College. Previously, Donald was the co-founding president of the Back-To-School Fund, a fundraising group supplementing the educational needs of children with incarcerated parents in New York State prisons. In 2015, he was presented with the Ossie Davis Award for his excellence in community service by Hudson Link for Higher Education.

Lawrence Bartley Twitter Email is the publisher of The Marshall Project Inside, the organization’s publications intended specifically for incarcerated audiences. He is an accomplished public speaker and has provided multimedia content for CNN, PBS, NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and more. News Inside is the recipient of the 2020 Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media.