Pictured here ( we were having a meeting with Jerry Milner, Acting Commissioner of the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services..)

The National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council convenes to provide federal stakeholders with relevant and timely information as policies and procedures are created that will impact children and families throughout the country. The Council represents a collective viewpoint of youth and alumni who have personal experience in the foster care system.

The Council advises by:

  • Using their experiences in foster care to identify and inform priorities and offer ideas to improve child welfare policy

  • Educating policymakers and other stakeholders about their varied experiences in foster care

  • Analyzing effectiveness of programs and policies based on the experiences of youth in foster care

In 2017, I was selected from 300+ applicants to become 1 of 6 First Ever POD Leader with lived experience in the child welfare system to be apart of the monumental 3 day event of flying up to 100 youth from all over the country to Washington D.C to shadow their perspective Congressman/woman from their district. Months leading to this event, my 5 peers and the staff at the National Foster Youth Institute ( headquartered in Los Angeles) developed criteria, reviewed applicants and interviewed 100s of youth nationally. Once in D.C, the 6 of us worked tirelessly to make sure youth were clear of logistics, helped craft their story, led workshops around resources in their states, college assistance and ofcourse, cultural competence in foster care. On the final day, we marched the streets of washington D.C , documenting the day and our mission with the Hashtag #FosterYouthVoices that within minutes went viral! Many celebrites such as Ashton Kutcher and others jumped on the hashtag as well as #FosterCare and #FosterYouthVoicesMatter !

Pod leaders coached our pods of 6-15 youth/alumni and took on our days with pride --meeting the staff and congress to match a true face and story to a easily forgotten story. And by the end of the day, we had made our mark of the world.