Selena is a former foster youth who was in care for sixteen years. She is now a Sociotherapist working with children and families in the Medically Fragile specialized program of JCCA in NYC.
Selena served on the New York State Office of Children and Family Services Youth Advisory Board as one of fifteen board members. During her term serving on the Board, Selena advised and collaborated with NYS OCFS on policy topics related to foster care. She spoke at venues such as the OCFS Permanency Summit and attended the Chafee Alliance National Conference in Washington, DC, where she explored ways to incorporate youth voices into policy.
In May of 2019, Westchester County kicked off the 11th Annual National Foster Care Month Celebration which featured the official unveiling of the “No More Trash Bags” Campaign as a result of awareness from the YAB at the OCFS Permanency Summit in December 2018. At the event, Selena and other board members spoke about what it felt like to put their belongings in a trash bag to move from foster home to foster home. These stories inspired Westchester County to partner with Lord and Taylor to design and provide canvas bags to youth who are entering foster care.
Selena was also a panelist at HBO’s Participant Media documentary screening of “Foster”, and at various Youth in Progress speak-out events around New York state. These speaking engagements have allowed Selena to share the importance of youth voices being included when crafting the initiatives, policies, and procedures that shape and directly impact the lives of children and youth in the foster system.