March 29, 2024
Contact: Crystal Patterson | [email protected]

Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day Brings Foster Youth Voices to Congress
The National Foster Youth Institute’s Annual Congressional Shadow Day Looks to Raise Awareness of Child Welfare System

Washington, D.C. – Congress will welcome nearly 40 current and former foster youth to Capitol Hill next week for the annual Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day, a unique opportunity for elected officials to hear directly from some of their most resilient yet often overlooked constituents — and a platform for foster youth to share their stories with the rest of the country.

Shadow Day is sponsored by the National Foster Youth Institute and the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. On June 13, foster youth activists will spend the day with their Members of Congress, attending events, observing meetings, and visiting legislative chambers. Their shadow experience will culminate in a luncheon featuring special guests, including Master of Ceremonies Marcus Scribner, an activist and actor known for his work on the TV show Black-ish and How I Learned to Fly, a feature film about children dealing with parental abandonment.


Current and former foster youth from the 2024 Congressional Leadership Academy meet with Members of Congress, public figures, and celebrities to share lived experiences in the child welfare system and to provide insight into the real-world impact of child welfare policies. The luncheon will also honor select members of Congress who are champions of youth and children.

WHEN: Thursday, June 13th, 2024
– 9am to 3pm: Foster youth activists shadow legislators
– 11am to 1pm: Lunch with Members of Congress & Foster Youth Activists

WHERE : Rayburn House Office Building – Room 2045
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

This year’s class features nearly 40 young people (aged 18-30) who are all part of the 10-month NFYI Congressional Leadership Academy. The luncheon will feature special guest speakers, including co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. Awardees include Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove and Rep. Zach Nunn, who are both receiving the “Fostering Legislative Change.” Rep. Rep. Darin LaHood will receive an award for “Fostering Transformative Change” and Ranking Member Richard Neal for “ Fostering Visionary Change.”

To Attend:
Select participating Members of Congress and foster youth delegates are available for media interviews to share their firsthand experience with the foster youth systems. Delegates arrive in Washington on Saturday, June 9 and leave on June 15. Interviews can be conducted ahead of time and/or during the Shadow Day events, and media are also welcome to attend the luncheon on June 13. Media should RSVP to Crystal Patterson at [email protected] to to attend the event or request an interview.

Background on NFYI’s Congressional Leadership Academy & Challenges Faced by Current & Former Foster Youth
NFYI’s Congressional Leadership Academy is an intensive 10-month program that features an action-packed weeklong experience in Washington, D.C. The first NFYI Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day program was held in 2012.To date, the organization has hosted over 800 delegates representing over two-thirds of the U.S.

Participants learn how to turn their lived experience in foster care into expertise and policy recommendations that impact the most critical issues facing foster youth and young adults who are aging out of care. This year, delegates are focused on:


About NFYI: Launched in 2012 by then-Congressmember and current Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, the National Foster Youth Institute was created to organize foster youth and families, foster care alumni, and allies across the country around transforming the child welfare system.

To learn more about NFIY, please visit our website: or find us on
Facebook: I Instagram: @NFYInstitute I Twitter: @NFYInstitute

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