Years in care: 9 months
Tristan Torres spent 9 months in the foster care system in Las Vegas, Nevada. During his experience, he faced severe adversity because of his FtM (Female-to-Male) transgender identity. He is an articulate proponent in the LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender+) community in Las Vegas and widely known for his advocacy work with FAYT (Foster and Adoptive Youth Together) where he holds the position of Vice President. He is also involved with the Youth Advisory Board for his state, and he makes occasional visits to Carson City to discuss important issues revolving around foster care. He has performed excellently in trainings, panels, and public speaking engagements expressing concerns and providing solutions regarding LGBT+ youth in care. His goals for improving the system for this population include but are not limited to: providing resources and support to these youth, implementing mandatory culturally relevant trainings for foster parents and social workers, and creating a distinction between which homes are LGBT+ friendly and which ones are not. So far, he has made progress in organizing LGBT+ inclusive training for social workers in child welfare agencies. He plans to pursue a double major in creative writing and communications, and then pursue a career as an author and a public speaker.