Despite starring on hit TV shows like Friends and Seinfield, Angela Featherstone dealt with scars of a turbulent childhood behind the scenes.
Angela tells Yahoo Life, “I would characterize the first 16 years of my life to be abusive physically, emotionally, psychologically and, in the end, sexually abusive. At the very least, there was criminal neglect consistently and lots of abandonment.”
Nova Scotia native Featherstone lived in Canada’s foster care system from 16, which shaped her life and was profoundly traumatizing in many ways.
Fostering Care is a nonprofit organization that helps young adults (18-21) aging out of the foster care system heal.
Featherstone understands how vital these tools can be to foster youth aging out of foster care.
Featherstone says, “I kept getting put in these group homes and ran away because I hated the group homes. They were horrible, and I didn’t feel safe there, so I kept leaving.”
She found herself facing even more severe threats on the street.
Featherstone says, “I was being trafficked and being raped. I wasn’t getting any money and wasn’t standing on any street corner. It was different than what I had imagined in my head of what it was.”
In 2016, roughly 23000 kids will leave the child welfare system, and many will face homelessness, incarceration, or trafficking.
Featherstone says, “I see this image of foster care being like those holding pens for the cattle before they get slaughtered: The slaughtering is turning 18 in California.”
Police picked up Featherstone and arrested her for “immorality,” later learning it was prostitution.
After being emancipated at 17, she borrowed money from a friend and took a bus to Toronto with her newfound freedom.
She landed roles in films like The Wedding Singer and Con Air, in addition to TV shows.
Despite her success, Featherstone began drinking and found it hard to find solid ground.
Featherstone says, “I was at the peak of my career as an actress, and a couple of complicated instances happened at work, and I did not have the infrastructure to handle them. When they happened, I just collapsed and sought the comfort in homelessness.”
Featherstone says she discovered her purpose through therapy, yoga, and writing to help young adults who have survived foster care.
The framework for Fostering Care, which includes teaching healing modalities, was launched in 2020.