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Cortney Jones spent 10 years in and out of the Texas foster care system, and joined the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council in October of 2014. Youth homelessness is an issue close to Cortney's heart. She recently wrote a blog for the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness highlighting the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. Since aging out of care, Cortney has been advocating for foster youth by volunteering and motivational speaking. She recently graduated from Texas State University-San Marcos with a Masters degree in Social Work emphasizing on Administrative Leadership, and was recently selected as recipient of the National Vera Paster Award from the American Orthopsychiatric Association.

"I attribute much of my foundational success to the Dallas Housing Authority and the FSS program. They gave me the opportunity to gain stability and enough time to make my transition to self-sufficiency. While staying goal-oriented and self-driven throughout the program, I was able to complete my bachelor's in Social Work from the University of Texas A&M-Commerce and also gain long-term employment. Shortly after gaining long-term employment, I went back to school and received my Masters in Social Work from Texas State University and I now have a home that is my own."

Cortney has spent countless hours advocating in Texas and Washington D.C. for the needs of foster youth at risk of becoming homeless. She actively partcipated in the Homelessness Workgroup, a group tasked with creating policy priorities for this population and elevating the barriers to housing foster youth often face during the transition to adulthood. You can read the policy priorities here.

"My hope is that one day, youth exiting foster care will not have to couch surf or put themselves in compromising situations because they do not have access to housing of their own. My wish is for every transition-age youth to have priority status and live in a safe, stable, and affordable long-term housing situation. I want every youth to have the same opportunity to realize their educational, employment, and housing goals."

Cortney hopes to continue to improve the system and complete a doctorate degree. When Cortney is not working she enjoys movies, poetry, traveling, live music, and spending time with her friends and family. Read more about Cortney here.

Jan 19, 2016 By Celeste