Barbara Bell spent 18 years in California's foster care system.

Barbara Bell is an exceptional advocate for children and youth in foster care in the county of Alameda in California. Entering the system at age one, Barbara remained in kinship care with her biological aunt for 18 years. Now age 24, she is currently a graduate student with career goals to be a professional social worker and author of a book she's planning with the goal of empowering young minorities of color.

Barbara serves on various advisory positions within her county's social services department. She actively engages and participates on the implementation of California's Fostering to Success, a program which extends foster care past age 18. The Independent Living Skills Program recently honored her with an appointment to the Independent Living Skills Program Alumni Association.

Barbara's works reach across the foster care community and beyond into the probation department as well. In the past she worked as a VIP, Volunteer in Probation, Coordinator.

In all areas where Barbara is active, she is well respected in her community and amongst her colleagues. Some honors or awards recognize her accomplishments: Beyond Emancipation, Outstanding Achievement Award - 2011, John Burton Foundation Children Without Homes, Perseverance and Commitment in Achieving Educational Goals -2011, State of California Senate, Certificate of Recognition - 2011 & 2009, National Foster Care Month and Honoring Emancipated Youth for Youth Leadership Aware - 2009. Since she has aged out of care, she continues to be a voice for voiceless children and youth.