Rebecca Louve Yao to lead organization’s expanded efforts to fight for current and former foster youth during and after coronavirus pandemic

The Board of Directors of the National Foster Youth Institute announced the hiring of Rebecca Louve Yao as the organization’s Executive Director, effective January 1, 2021. Dedicated to transforming the child welfare system by helping to lift up the voices and experiences of current and former foster youth, NFYI is currently expanding its national membership base and working with local and federal lawmakers to ensure that foster youth and alumni of care are protected during the coronavirus pandemic and from its economic consequences.

“This pandemic has revealed how devastating the inequities and lack of a support system are for far too many. But we’ve also seen and worked with many young adults who are eager to speak up and advocate effectively for themselves and others,” said Conway Collis, chair of the board of directors. “Since the start of the pandemic, NFYI has pivoted to organizing in the virtual space. Rebecca has been instrumental in bringing together young people from across the country to ensure that stimulus packages, relief, and healthcare legislation are crafted with foster youth in mind. Rebecca’s experience and demonstrated commitment to this work will allow NFYI to have an even greater impact in these critical coming months and years.”

Louve Yao joined the National Foster Youth Institute in 2018 as the National Policy and Organizing Director. In April 2020, she was promoted to Director of Development. As an alumni of the child welfare system, Louve Yao is passionate about empowering former foster youth to become change-makers in the child welfare system because she believes they are experts whose voices should be at the center of policy reform.

“No one knows our flawed child welfare system better than former foster youth. They are the experts whose voices should be at the center of policy reform,” said Louve Yao. “I joined NFYI because I wanted to work with an organization that not only believes in the power and promise of foster youth’s voices, but does the work to guarantee that they have a seat at the table where policies are created and decisions are made. NFYI’s commitment to leadership development and empowering youth is what brought me into this organization and I look forward to creating bold, innovative ways to expand on that foundation.”

Louve Yao brings to her new role extensive experience as a mental health professional and senior strategist in leadership development. Her past work includes movement-building, grassroots organizing, strategic planning, marketing and outreach, and civic engagement, leading to the mobilization of diverse stakeholders to create policy and legislative change. A strong communicator, she has successfully created bridges between foster youth and policymakers.

Louve Yao was a social worker in Child Welfare Services in Solano County, California from 2016 to 2018. From 2008 to 2014, at California Youth Connection, she launched advocacy campaigns and developed organizing plans in 13 California counties. Rebecca served on the California Redesign Taskforce in 2002 and was a Congressional Intern with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington DC in 2006. She earned her master’s degree in Social Welfare from the University of California Berkeley in 2016 and her bachelor’s degree in Communications from California State University San Marcos in 2008.