Tag Archive: youth voice

  1. Apply Now: Foster Care & Kinship Care Youth Virtual Advocacy Day!


    Voices for Virginia’s Children is looking for 10-15 young people with lived experiences in Virginia’s foster care system and formal/informal kinship care to participate in “Uplifting Young Voices: Foster and Kinship Care Virtual Advocacy Day” in January 2021. Youth will be a part of a cohort where they will learn how to share their stories and experiences with others and provide feedback on policies that affect them.

    The purpose of the cohort is to create a space for youth to have a voice at the table and establish meaningful impact in the systems that have impacted their lives. Youth in the cohort will be provided with an advocacy workshop and media training in the fall, as well as activities that will help them get to know each other. The advocacy day event will include a day of virtual legislative visits, a press briefing, and a virtual round table discussion with key administrative staff to advance reforms in the foster care system. Youth of color and youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are strongly encouraged to apply.

    Youth must complete an application to be considered for this opportunity. We cannot guarantee this opportunity again. Applications are now closed. Please contact Allison Gilbreath at allison@vakids.org or 804-649-0184 ext. 102 or Courtney Reece at reecec2@vcu.edu for more information.

    Application Criteria

    • Age: 18-25
    • Must have been in Virginia foster care or formal/informal kinship care or child welfare involvement at one point in time
    • Must currently reside in Virginia

    Participants Receive

    • $150 stipend
    • Advocacy Training
    • Leadership Opportunities

    Dates of Events (must attend all to be included)

    • December 2nd – 7:00 – 8:30 PM (Advocacy training 101)
    • January 6th – 7:00 – 8:00PM (Advocacy training 102)
    • January 25th – 12:00 – 1:00pm (Roundtable Discussion)
    • January 27th – 8:00 – 12:00pm (Advocacy Day)



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

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    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