The National Foster Care
​​​​​​​Youth & Alumni Policy Council

The National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council represents a collective viewpoint of youth and alumni who have experienced the child welfare system first-hand. We use our lived expertise to educate and advise key child welfare stakeholders as policies and procedures are created that will affect children and families throughout the country.

Meet the Council Members

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Aoguzi McDonald
Marquan Teetz
Alejandra Gomez
North Carolina
New Mexico
South Carolina
Michael Kelly

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South Dakota
New Hampshire
New York
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Carolina
South Carolina
New York
New Jersey
New Jersey

How to join the Council

​The Council consists of 20 members geographically distributed across the country, reflecting a broad range of diversity encompassing, but not limited to, ethnicity, location of residency, religion and gender, and child welfare experiences.

The Council advises child welfare stakeholders by:   

  • Commenting on legislation and policies that impact youth in foster care;
  • Proposing policies to improve the lives of youth;
  • Monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of programs and policies.
  • The Council is a project in partnership between Foster Care Alumni of America and FosterClub, with generous support from Casey Family Programs.  

Members of the National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council are encouraged to apply by a partner organization. Every Spring, the Council staff distributes an application form to partner organizations. Partner organizations are encouraged to share the application with prospective members. Applicants will receive notice within one week of the application close date as to the status of their application. New members will be invited to attend the annual in person meeting and monthly NPC calls. 

Council members are between the ages of 18 and 26 at the start of their service. All members must:

Have personal experience in the foster care system (including all out-of-home placements, facilities, kinship placements, shelters, etc.)
Demonstrate the capacity to participate in a leadership position involving child welfare policy (for example, through active leadership on a Youth Advisory Board or Youth Council)
Gain permission to travel and be photographed, including ability to obtain required permissions from foster care agency if in extended care
Demonstrate responsibility, self-drive and require minimal supervision


Members of the Council will serve as a representative group for young people who have personal experience in the foster care system. The role of the Council members include (but are not limited to):

Utilizing their knowledge of the child welfare system from their personal experiences as well as their advocacy work to inform federal stakeholders on the current state of youth in foster care
Reviewing programs and policies to ensure they are achieving their established goals and objectives
Responding to legislation and policies that impact youth in foster care
Recommending methods to resolve issues and concerns involving youth in care
Council members serve a 24-month term beginning during the month of the first full group meeting following the new member's acceptance of their invitation. The responsibilities of Council members are to:

  • Attend in-person Council meetings (one per year, and a monthly council phone call; meeting dates will be provided in-advance and staff will be pleased to work with Council member employers and/or schools to arrange participation)
  • Join at least one active workgroup upon orientation
  • Attend at least 75% of the workgroup meetings
  • Become an active ambassador of the Council's priorities by identifying opportunities to share the priorities developed within their state / tribe / jurisdiction. 
  • Maintain professional conduct throughout their term of service
  • Articulate ideas and solutions regarding youth issues and concern
  • Interact constructively with peers in a group setting

About the Council

The National Foster Care Youth & Alumni Policy Council convenes to provide federal stakeholders with relevant and timely information as policies and procedures are created that will impact children and families throughout the country. The Council represents a collective viewpoint of youth and alumni who have personal experience in the foster care system.

The Council advises by:

  • Using their experiences in foster care to identify and inform priorities and offer ideas to improve child welfare policy
  • Educating policymakers and other stakeholders about their varied experiences in foster care
  • Analyzing effectiveness of programs and policies based on the experiences of youth in foster care

How We Create Recommendations

Why Collective Representation Matters

Bringing to light  under-examined experiences in foster care 

By providing a groundbreaking lived experience perspective of immigrant youth in foster care, we steered practice and policy improvement conversations toward meeting the actual needs of youth who are navigating the immigration and foster care systems simultaneously.


Driving stakeholder conversations toward prevention and supportive family services 

We used our own lived experience and research to inform the policymakers who eventually signed the impactful Family First Prevention Services Act into law.


Ensuring youth in foster care receive and understand their rights​​​​​​​

Our work around the importance of human rights in foster care led to most states requiring “Bills of Rights” for youth in foster care.


Shifting stakeholder priorities from reactive supports to proactive services

We used lived expertise to raise the question — “Why do we support youth after they’ve been traumatized, when we can reduce their vulnerability to it in the first place?”. This changed the way many policymakers viewed supportive services for youth and families in foster care.


Elevating the need for quality residential treatment programs​​​​​​​

We spurred foundational discussions demonstrating the importance of quality residential services and the harms caused by unnecessary congregate care placements.


In the Media


June: Community advocates react to Indian Child Welfare Act decision - Veronica Krupnick in KOAT Action News

June: The Impact of Placement Disruption from Someone with Lived Experience - Ares Epps in NC Fostering Perspectives

June: Preventing Disruptions from Day One - Lanitta Berry in NC Fostering Perspectives


July 7: Child Advocate Speaks About Ukrainian Orphanage Experience and the Future for Orphans - Ryan Young in the Children's Bureau Express

Feb 21 -  New Mexico’s First Native Family Court Points to Success Keeping Kids in Tribal Communities - Veronica Krupnick in Youth Today


Sept -  Generational Joy - Veronica Krupnick in the 2021 Summer/Fall NICWA News

July 22 - How the Child Welfare System Made Me Prioritize Education Over Myself - Shay House in the Imprint


Oct 25 - Love as Destiny: A Former Foster Youth's Journey in Motherhood - Katarina Sayally in Chronicle of Social Change

Sept 5 - Oklahoma seeks to address lawyer shortage for abused and neglected children - David Hall in State Impact Oklahoma, NPR 

Aug 9 - Child Welfare Ideas from the Experts #3: Individual Care Plans for Disabled Foster Youth - David Hall in Chronicle of Social Change 

Aug 5 - Child Welfare Ideas from the Experts #1: Getting Tough on Educational Stability - Joshua Christian in Chronicle of Social Change

May 28 - College Graduation: A Bittersweet Success for Former Foster Youth - Shay House in Children's Rights 


May 21 - Finding Home, Katarina Kabick on KQED, Bay Area (CA)

May 21 - Make Change, Be Involved, Jade Tillequots on The Mockingbird Society

Feb 20 - Former Foster Youth Share Findings of Survey on Preventing Removals from Families, Chronicle of Social Change


May 30 - Beating the Odds, by Samantha Smith on Children's Rights


Sept. 24 - Youth View Family First Act as an Opportunity to Strengthen Families, by Brittney Barros in Chronicle of Social Change

Sept 26 - No Longer Preventing Prevention Services, by David Hall in Chronicle of Social Change

Sept 18 - Improve safeguards in foster care system, by Brian Morgantini in the Scranton Times Tribune (PA)

The Council is a project of: