Voices’ Blog

Recap: Uplifting Young Voices Foster & Kinship Care Youth Advocacy Day

Posted:  -  By: Allison Gilbreath

On January 15th Voices hosted its first-ever foster & kinship care youth advocacy day with a youth cohort that was selected in September. In November, the cohort participated in an advocacy training to prepare for meetings with legislators.

This day would not have been possible without our many partners and supports! Thank you to the  Annie E. Casey Foundation and CHAMPS Campaign for providing stipends for youth and believing in this event. Our partners Children’s Home Society, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Great Expectations, UMFS, Intercept Youth Services, and many others for recruiting youth, attending training’s, and leading groups on advocacy day.

2020 Youth Cohort:

Asia London
Darwin M Lovos Vanegas
Gabrielle Martin
John Wash
Joshua Hoskins
Kayla Brockington
Makalani Stewart
MarQuetta Inabinet
Megan Dunford
Nahdiyah Muhammad
Rosalind Mabry
Sarah Wyatt
Tia Smith
Tiffany Haynes
Whitney Brown

The young people lifted up the 2020 Unified Foster Care Agenda. They specifically wanted to highlight the need for financial supports for kinship caregivers, the high turnover rate for child welfare workers, the need for youth to find permanent connections before they turn 18, and normalizing adolescent experiences for youth in care.

Youth began the day with legislative visits. To view the full gallery click here.


Darwin Vanegas starts the meeting with Delegate Leftwitch sharing the needs to focus on education attainment for youth in care.


White Brown interviewing with VPM (Richmond NPR outlet).


Youth meet with Delegate Delany to kick off the day.


Tiffany Haynes, Nahdiyah Muhammad, and Gabrielle Martin
meet with Delegate Reid who inspired the youth after sharing he was in foster care as a child.


John Wash shakes hands with Delegate Carroll Foy.

Foster Care Caucus Press Briefing

Youth were invited to the foster care caucus press briefing led by Senator Monty Mason and Delegate Emily Brewer. Tori Maby, Makalani Steward, and Sophia Booker shared brief remarks at this portion of the day. You can watch the entire briefing here.

Makalani Stewart  giving remarks


Tori Mabry giving remarks

Sophia Booker giving remarks.

Youth Policy Roundtable at Governor’s Office with Virginia Fosters

Virginia Fosters is a statewide initiative that empowers leaders across the Commonwealth to be the solution for children, families, and workers in Virginia’s child welfare system. They invited the cohort to the Governor’s office so they could share their thoughts with the Governors administration and key staff at the Virginia Department of Social Services.

In the News:

Foster Care Caucus plans to build on momentum in its second legislative sessionRichmond Times Dispatch – January 15, 2020

Read More Blog Posts