Today there are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. We believe that each one deserves a safe, supportive, and honorable upbringing — no matter who they are or where they come from. Despite good intentions, however, government bureaucracies that oversee the child welfare system often fail to deliver on promises to create a better life for these vulnerable children. As a result, many foster youth experience a childhood that is far from ideal.
We’re educating and working with elected officials at the national and local levels. We’re partnering with like-minded organizations to build a network for change. We’re mobilizing donors and activists who are ready to invest their resources and time to become champions for children. And most importantly, we’re elevating foster youth voices and building a new generation of grassroots leaders; because the people with firsthand experience in the child welfare system should have a seat at the table and lead us all towards system change.
One of our community partners shares an NFYI Instagram post about our Congressional Shadow Day program and a 19-year-old who recently transitioned out of foster care sees it.
The delegate makes new friends and attends workshops on telling their personal story.
After returning home and with support from NFYI, the delegate follows up with their Member of Congress and the member’s Policy Advisor and builds an ongoing relationship with them.
With support from NFYI, the delegate hosts a community engagement event to educate the public on the proposed legislation and invites other former foster youth to attend. People post on social media and the local media attends the event, raising public awareness.
The Member of Congress introduces legislation that would increase funding for housing for former foster youth and the Policy Advisor reaches out to the delegate to share.
The delegate emails the Member and Advisor local news articles and op-eds they’ve published with the help of NFYI. The Member and Advisor share internship opportunities and local resources with the delegate.
Former foster youth and those who support them reach out to their own Members of Congress to tell them about the issue the bill addresses. NFYI provides suggested email language and a script for phone calls.
Educated by their constituents, a growing number of Members of Congress sign on to the bill as co-sponsors.
The bill is passed!
NFYI reminds the delegate to reach out and thank the bill’s writer. They stay in touch and the delegate provides feedback on how the bill is being implemented in their community.