Prioritize Foster Youth Voices in Your Work

Working together to create a bright future for foster youth and their families in your community.

NFYI works closely with the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth to organize Members of Congress, state, and local officials, along with foster youth and families, foster care alumni, and child welfare experts to propose new policy ideas and identify best practices and challenges regarding the implementation of existing child welfare laws.

NFYI Working together to create a bright future for foster youth and their families in your community.
NFYI Parenting

Somewhere in your community, there’s a child in foster care who faces an uncertain future. Can she be reunited with her parents and siblings? Can she stay at her school with her friends and favorite teacher? Will she be able to fulfill her dream of going to college? Who will protect and fight for her?

 

In her loneliest and most uncertain moments, what she may not know is that there’s a whole community out there working to secure a brighter future for her and the 400,000 other children in our country like her.

That community includes former foster youth who want to reach back and provide better child welfare experiences for children in need. It includes social workers, attorneys, judges, and service providers who do the day-to-day work to maintain our child welfare system. It’s businesses large and small that see the value in mentoring and hiring resilient and resourceful former foster youth. It’s educators who believe in young adults with nontraditional backgrounds. And it’s a community that relies on elected officials who have the vision and power to create laws and policies that protect children and strengthen families.

NFYI Smiling kids

Why partner with NFYI

Since its founding in 2012, NFYI has worked hand-in-hand with Members of Congress, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, federal civil servants, political appointees, and local elected officials. Our partners have been members of all political parties and represent every part of our country; the one thing they all have in common is a belief in the potential of foster children and the power of foster youth voices.

Highlights of the impact of our partnership include:

NFYI congress Members

Members of Congress have hosted more than 550 current and former foster youth for Congressional Shadow Day.

NFYI Foster Youth Voice
House Members have received input from former foster youth and NFYI’s expert staff on over a dozen pieces of legislation that will impact funding for foster care and youth who are transitioning out of care.
NFYI Current and Former Foster
Current and former foster youth have mobilized their peers and families to raise awareness of and attention to pending legislation introduced by Members of Congress who are seeking co-sponsors, like H.R. 1892, the Family First Prevention Services Act, which was passed in 2018.
NFYI members
NFYI members have become Hill staffers, bringing their first-hand experience and professional development training to issues that impact the child welfare system.

I am who I am today because of this organization and the great people in it.

Scout Hartley Former
National Organizing Intern, New Jersey

How to partner with NFYI

Through our landmark inside/outside strategy, NFYI seeks to support legislators’ internal goals for strengthening child welfare while also bringing an outside perspective on what’s happening on the ground in your district. First and foremost, we seek opportunities to connect decision makers with individuals with lived experience in child welfare. We know that combining foster youth voices with legislative power is what creates real, lasting change.

Congressional Shadow Day

Foster youth and alumni ages 18-30 go to Washington, D.C. to shadow their Members of Congress for a day on Capitol Hill.

The Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program is an opportunity for young people with personal experience in the foster care system to spend time with their Congressional representative, as well as White House officials, in Washington, D.C. Program delegates spend almost a week in Washington, D.C. each May gaining a better understanding of the role of Congress and learning how they can make their voices heard on issues they care about.

NFYI Foster youth and alumni ages 18-30 go to Washington, D.C. to shadow their Members of Congress for a day on Capitol Hill.
The half-day spent shadowing their Member of Congress allows foster youth the opportunity to connect face-to-face with their own representatives and get a behind-the-scenes look at the legislative process. The youth get to share their personal stories and experiences in the child welfare system with Congressional Members and remind them of the real-world impact of their work on child welfare system reform.
Members of Congress find hosting a young adult during Shadow Day to be an eye-opening, rewarding experience. In addition to spending time meeting with their Congressmember, many delegates join meetings and briefings with legislative aides. All participants are invited to a celebratory luncheon afterwards featuring special guests.
Town Hall with Current/Former Foster Youth & Service Providers

Members of Congress share their initiatives and child welfare-related legislation and hear directly from current and former foster youth from across the country

Whether virtual or in-person, NFYI Town Halls provide engaging, thoughtful, and meaningful interactions between current/former foster youth and decision makers. These events bring a group of young adults with lived experience in foster care face-to-face with the people focused on policy and laws.
Town Hall guests listen to NFYI member stories, answer questions if they choose to do a Q&A, and share resources and/or their own personal experiences. Legislative aides often join the town halls to hear directly from constituents of child welfare.
Congressional Dinners

Small dinner meetings connecting Members of Congress with experts and a unique perspective on child welfare

NFYI in cooperation with the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth invites Members of Congress to policy roundtable dinners throughout the year. Each dinner focuses on a topic of interest to child welfare reform and generally features experts in the field, including foster youth. The goal of these dinners is to inform Congressmembers about issues, programs, and policies that can improve the lives of children and families involved in the child welfare system. Recent topics include sex trafficking and foster youth, rehoming, and the neurological impact of early childhood trauma.
NFYI Small dinner meetings connecting Members of Congress with experts and a unique perspective on child welfare
Listening Session in Your District

Coordinating nationwide field visits with policymakers to learn about child welfare issues firsthand

NFYI coordinates field visits throughout the country to help policymakers learn more about issues related to foster care firsthand. If you’re interested in getting a comprehensive picture of child welfare in your district, we can work together to create a series of site visits, town hall meetings, and roundtables. We aim to help Congressmembers gain new perspective on the issues and create new ideas for how to address them at both the local and federal levels. Recently. Listening Tours have been held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and rural Tennessee.
NFYI Coordinating nationwide field visits with policymakers to learn about child welfare issues firsthand
NFYI Vector
FOSTER YOUTH STORY
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NFYI Vector

Contact us to see how we can help foster youth and foster youth families in your community.

If you are a local decision-maker and want to host a listening session, townhall, or briefing, just contact us.


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