Justin Hayden

Indiana’s Foster Care System

21 years old

he/him/ his

Justin experienced five years in Indiana's foster care system. From the time he entered care at age 14 he was in four different placements up until he graduated high school. Justin is currently enrolled at Purdue University Northwest, where he is majoring in communication with a public relations concentration and minoring in behavioral psychology.

Justin has worked effortlessly for the last three and a half years, from working in advocacy within his state to working in child welfare and public policy nationally and at the federal level, he strives to achieve meaningful change for youth and families in the foster care system. Justin is currently working as a constituent consultant for Casey Family Programs, the nation's largest organization dedicated to reducing foster care and strengthening families. He uses his knowledge and expertise in receiving and navigating child welfare services systems to improve case plans, improve existing programs, evaluate what additional supports and services may be required, and explore how to achieve positive outcomes and progressive system change.

During the pandemic, Justin was one of many young voices with lived experience to provide knowledge and insight into the importance of the passing of the $400 million Pandemic Relief Bill for Youth and Families. He also aided in the creation of a pandemic relief distribution plan for his home state's Department of Child Services, ensuring that you can provide care, voluntary services, and individuals who have aged out of the system have access to relief funds.

Justin is also co-founder of Raising Resilience, a welfare and well-being advocacy/ life coaching business for underprivileged youth and young adults where they teach and support goal setting, personal development, and holistic practice.

The quote that Justin lives by is, “The question isn't who's going to let me, it's who's going to stop me.” by Ayn Rand. This is the same advice Justin gives to young people in care. He believes that opportunities to make true change are endless and no one can stop you.

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