Two members of the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council traveled to Denver in mid- July, connecting with state legislators for the National Conference of State Legislatures first ever Child Welfare Fellows Program.
Kodi Baughman and Latasha Fuller joined 22 legislators from 17 states, offering their expertise - both personal and professional--as legislators expanded their knowledge and understanding of the child welfare system and ways the states can identify action steps supporting children and families.
During the 3-day program, Kodi and Latasha enjoyed the unique space to share perspectives, interact with legislators, network and learn more about specific strategies states are using to address challenges within the field, including the opportunities presented by Family First Prevention Services Act.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact in a less-formal setting. We connected one on one and were able to get to know legislators on a more personal level. It felt like less of a transactional conversation” - Latasha
In a panel conversation, entitled: Painting a Portrait of the Child Welfare System, Kodi and Latasha shared alongside Senator Griffin from Oklahoma. During the panel, Kodi and Latasha shared their own experiences, effective policies and practices from their own states, the benefits of extended foster care, and reflected on the individuals who made the difference in their journey.
Throughout the entire event, Kodi reflected, “we were looked at as experts and provided opportunities to fully reflect, engage and provide feedback in discussions.”
Earlier this year, Council members met with representatives of the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislators, sharing some of the Council’s recent Prevention Priority and a preview of the learnings from youth and alumni around Reunification Supports and ensuring mutual learning where the Council members and National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislators connected and discussed future engagement opportunities.
Learn more about the Child Welfare Fellows Program here.