Natalie Nicole Clark
6 years in Utah’s Foster Care System
22 years old
Natalie spent about 6 years in Utah’s foster care system between the ages of 3 and 18; she had too many placements to keep track - especially during her teenage years. Natalie is a full-time Social work student at the University of Utah. She teaches basic life skills classes at the Department of Children and Family Services through a non-profit organization called Reach360; that provides activity grants to youth in foster care, On the side, Natalie drives for Lyft and is a photographer. She has participated on her local and state advisory councils for many years with the goal of educating and informing the legislature on Utah’s foster care system. Currently, she serves as the presiding President of the Salt Lake region and the Utah State Advisory Board. Natalie will work for the Department of Children and Family Services once she completes her Bachelor’s degree by the summer of 2021.
Natalie’s passion and motivation for advocacy within the foster care system is derived from her many years of experiencing a “broken system.” Natalie is hopeful - while she experienced and observed the many flaws behind designating government and state agencies to raise children; she knows the strength of lived experience in changing the way things work for future generations of foster youth. Natalie’s dream jobs include: be an individual trauma therapist for youth in foster care and victims of sexual assault, running a non-profit transitional living apartment complex for youth aging out of the foster care system, and being a foster parent for teens.
”It’s not what you’ve been through in your life that defines. It’s not what you’ve been through in your life that defines who you are, it’s how you got through it that has made you the person you are today. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you’ve ever been, to stand up taller than you ever were.”