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Current Members

The National Foster Care Youth and Alumni Policy Council is comprised of representatives of national foster youth-serving advisory organizations. 

 

 

Htet Htet Rodgers- – Louisiana

Ms. Rodgers is currently a Northwestern State University studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy, Politics, and Law. She is a member of Phi Mu Fraternity and the Speaker of the Senate for the Student Government Association. Ms. Rodgers experienced both kin and foster care. She entered foster care as a teen  and had the privilege of living in only one home, which she still calls home.
 

As she began my 3rd semester of college, she had the opportunity to work for a provider of the Department of Child and Family Services to be a Peer Support Representative. Through that opportunity, many more arose from speaking at conferences with foster parents to coming to DC to develop apps to better the foster care system. Becoming an advocate for foster youth has been a life enriching experience. In her free time, she enjoys: cooking, hiking, painting, snowboarding, and everything that I have not tried under the sun. Today, she thanks God for every single opportunity that he has sent her way.

 



 

Kodi Baughman- – Iowa

Mr. Baughman was involved in the system at a young age, eventually he would reunify with his mother. He was inspired to help others through his personal story to create change in the system and give youth a chance to be heard. He strives to effectively impact practice and policies relating to children and families.   
 

Mr. Baughman is a certified Family Team Facilitator, Breakthrough Series Collaborative facilitator, a Youth Transition Decision-Making Team Facilitator for the Children & Families of Iowa/State of Iowa. He is also involved with assisting the Building a Better Future Training while advocating for youth, parents, frontline workers and foster parents to work more effectively together to create better outcomes for children and families. Mr. Baughman is a member of Iowa Cultural Equity Alliance, Youth Insight board, Community Partnership for Protecting Children, and he has worked extensively with Youth Policy Institute to elevate the youth voice across multiple systems. Mr. Baughman  obtained an AS degree in Human Services at Des Moines Area Community College and is currently attending Upper Iowa University to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree.

 

 

 

Latasha Fuller- – North Carolina

Ms. Fuller spent the first seven years of her life in kinship cares, At age 8 she entered foster care and was subsequently adopted. Currently, Latasha  is the Resident Manager with  LIFE Skills Foundation. She has been working  with Foster Youth, and as an Advocate for Children,  for the past five years. Latasha was named a Notable Name to watch by PRIDE Magazine (Charlotte, NC)  in 2015, and is a Children’s Trust Fund Hero with the Los Angeles, CA  Children’s Trust Fund.

 

Latasha  received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science  with a concentration in Public Administration, from Winston-Salem State University in 2014.  Ms. Fuller has dedicated her life to being an Advocate in her community for youth, no matter her location,  because she recognizes that they  are the future. Her family, and faith,  have been her  backbone of support,  as she’s embarked on her journey over the years. Latasha  looks forward to enrolling in  a  Masters of Social Work program in  2017 so that she can serve as a  Child Advocate with the court system.

 

 

Samuel Martin– Washington

Mr. Martin primarily grew up in kinship care. He has been an advocate for youth in foster care at both the local and national level for many years, participating as a Chapter Leader with the Mockingbird Society to advocate for state laws impacting foster youth, as a member of Passion to Action and in CCAI's Foster Youth Internship Program.

 

Samuel is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a Bachelor's Degree in Political science. He is currently enrolled at Seattle University in the Master in Public Administration Program. He plans to either get his Juris Doctorate or my Doctorate in Public Policy. He is currently employed as a Senior Education Specialist at Treehouse. Treehouse has a goal of youth in care graduating from high school at the same rate as their peers.

 

 
 

Samantha Smith– New York

Ms. Smith is a fierce advocate and recent graduate from John Jay College. She is highly involved in advocating for oppressed groups who are underrepresented in politics.
After eighteen years in the New York City foster care system, Samantha aged out. When her biological mother’s rights were terminated she knew that the cycle of fractured families had to END with her! Samantha is a dedicated advocate and spokesperson for youth in foster care and wishes to establish her own women’s empowerment organization. Samantha describes herself as a young activist working hard to change what is broken in the foster care system. She’s travelled to Albany, Washington DC, California, and Oregon in order to share her knowledge and experience while in foster care.


Samantha is currently employed as a Social Worker in an Elder Abuse Program to identify, eliminate, and prevent abuse.  When Samantha is not working she enjoys jazz music, traveling, Buddhism and spending time with loved ones.
 

 

 

Tamya McGee– Michigan

Ms. McGee entered the Wayne County foster care system at the age of 11 with her two younger brothers. After living with 4 different family members in 3 years, they were reunited with their mother. Her experiences in the foster care system motivated her to pursue a career in social work and social welfare policy in an effort to remove the barriers many families who seek to reunify experience.

 

In 2014 Ms. McGee interned with Voice for Adoption in Washington, DC. She received my bachelor of arts in Political Science from Michigan State University in 2015 and is currently completing her Masters Degree in social work at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She plans to use the knowledge she has gained and her experiences to become a change agent and assist in the regulation and implementation of laws and policies that impact children in the foster care system.

 

 

Timothy Dennis – Tennessee

Mr. Dennis grew up in foster care for all of his teenage years. Timothy graduated high school in Knoxville, TN and went on to obtain his certified nursing assistant license. His passion in life is to give back to current foster youth who are experiencing the same things that he experienced.

 

Timothy’s dream job is to work with the Department of Children's Services in the Independent Living Department or CPS Division. Mr. Dennis aspires to do so first, he believes prevention is key. Secondly, in the event teenager must experience foster care he wants to ensure they are aware of all the opportunities available to them that will help them successfully transition out of adulthood into a prosperous future.
 

 

Carlos Rodriguez – Illinois

Carlos spent 19 years in foster care in Illinois and had four placements. The incarceration of his parents led to his first placement with his grandparents, and he is currently in extended foster care with a transitional living program. He now holds numerous leadership positions with advisory boards in Illinois and hopes to enroll in college to study criminal psychology and work as a behavioral analyst. Carlos is understanding, kind hearted, and caring.

 

 

Cortney Jones – Texas

At the age of eight, Cortney entered the Texas foster care system and was adopted by the age of ten. She shortly re-entered foster care due to abuse within her adoptive family. Seeking reunification with her biological family, Cortney took the initiative to find her grandmother at the age of twelve and spent a long period of time in family therapy and visitations before she was able to reunify. She re-entered foster care again and remained there until she aged out at eighteen.

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. She 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.

 

Crystal O’Grady – Washington

On Thanksgiving when she was 13, Crys O’Grady entered foster care in New Jersey and had four placements, including a kinship placement. Instead of aging out, Crys ran away and stayed with friends until she began school in California. She received her B.A. in Sociology from Stanford University and is now in her third year of law school at the University of Washington School of Law and hopes to continue working in child welfare policy when she graduates in 2016.

In her free time, Crys volunteers as a family law Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), serves as the legal intern for the Center for Children and Youth Justice, and serves as the secretary for the Washington Chapter of Foster Care Alumni Network of America. Crys enjoys enriching her advocacy efforts and personal life with travel, reading, and kayaking.

 

 

Dani Townsend – Illinois

Dani spent eight years in the Illinois foster care system. Dani had both good and bad experiences but refused to let her past determine her future. She was unable to participate in extracurricular activities after entering care, and hopes that one change she can make will be to improve normalcy for all foster youth.

Dani is attending college classes in Fall 2014 majoring in social work with a minor in political science. Dani’s ambition is to become a powerful voice for the youth in care who are unable to speak on behalf of themselves. She feels that she has the knowledge and experience of a youth in care and can pass this on to other youth so they do not have to endure what she did.

 

 

 

DaShun Jackson – Nevada

Dashun entered foster care at the age of 13 with his 3 younger siblings, but was later separated from siblings after living in an abusive home. Multiple placements, including the local shelter, his aunt’s home, psychiatric facility and a residential treatment home, caused Dashun to move through four different schools while in care. While at a shelter, Dashun attend a school that did not provide credits, causing him to fall further behind in school. Dashun credits a mentor from a group home for teaching him about his culture and the gift of philanthropy.

Currently emancipated, Dashun attends a local University studying psychology and public administration. He was one of two creators of Nevada’s first foster care bill of rights, and is president of both the local and state foster youth chapters. Dashun is a bill-creator, college student, brother… and a foster kid.

 

 

Diego Conde – Colorado

After spending five years in Colorado’s foster care system, Diego knows anything is possible with a positive attitude. He describes his experience as revolutionary. Diego’s experience with psychotropic medications resulted in a daily struggle to remain positive and hopeful about his future. He persevered despite the barriers brought on by the system and his desire to advocate for his peers in the system grows stronger every day.

Diego’s future aspirations are to build a technological platform that will revolutionize the child welfare system and to start a business, as well as to complete a college degree in Business Administration from the University Colorado Denver. Diego is a community leader, child welfare advocate, and an avid reader.

 

 

 

Jessica Edgar – Minnesota

Jessica spent six years in Minnesota’s foster care system after being separated from her siblings. She suffered verbal and mental abuse while in foster care and often missed school in order to provide day care for her foster siblings. Missing her own birthday multiple times and craving the permanency she once had, Jessica struggled to maintain a relationship with her own siblings. When offered the opportunity to be adopted, she decided this was not the type of permanency she desired, but no one listened and she was adopted at age fifteen.

Jessica is now a student athlete at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, majoring in Social Work and minoring in Communications. She is involved in many activities including the Social Work Association, Tau Delta Gamma Sorority, and Women’s Track and Field. Her goals include furthering her education in social work and continue a career in child welfare to help improve the system.

 

 

Jessica Henderson (Harris) – Maine

Jessica spent twelve years in foster care. She lived in several placements including group homes, foster homes, and kinship care placements. Jessica has advocated for enhanced post-secondary and extended care options for former foster youth. She is a speaker and has testified multiple times in an effort to improve health care access for foster youth and alumni. Ms. Henderson has served on youth advisory boards in Maine. Based on her experience, aging without adequate permanent connections, Jessica is passionate about improving lifelong connections for youth in and from foster care.

Jessica is currently in the process of being adopted. Presently, she is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is employed as a behavioral health professional serving children with disabilities and behavioral health concerns. In the future she hopes to become a social worker at the Department of Human Services.

 

Kaysie Getty – New Jersey

At the age of two, Kaysie was adopted, but at the age of 14, she was separated from her siblings and placed in a foster home. For four years, she bounced around from placement to placement until she landed at Center for Family Services at 18 where she could finally become stable.

Kaysie is an active and devoted foster youth advocate. She served as the president of the Center for Family Services Internal Youth Advisory Board and Camden County YAB for 4 years. Kaysie now works with the Rutgers School of Social Work as a Youth Advisory Board Ambassador, and as a Youth Advocate with the Center for Family Services. Kaysie plans on becoming the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families of New Jersey.

 

 

 

Madison Sandoval-Lunn – Nevada

At the age of 10, Madison entered foster care with her three younger siblings and had seven different placements. She was eventually separated from her siblings and adopted just before she turned 18. Madison has held various leadership positions in youth advisory boards and was recognized with FosterClub’s Outstanding Young Leader award in 2009. She served as a 2011 Larry Bolden Scholar and co-founded the Nevada chapter of Foster Care Alumni of America in 2013. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2014 and is working toward a career in federal child welfare policy.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Pauter – California

Sarah is a seasoned youth advocate with progressive experience in nonprofit leadership. After spending 17 years in the foster care system before ultimately emancipating, Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from San Diego State University and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. Currently, Sarah is the Executive Youth Partner of Family & Youth Roundtable of San Diego County where she works to improve public child-serving systems through advocacy and awareness.

Sarah has co-chaired the County of San Diego’s Children System of Care Council and continues to serve as a representative of youth involved with juvenile justice and residential treatment. Her educational and professional achievements paired with nearly two decades of experience within the foster care system grants her a unique perspective shared by few in her field.

 

 

Tamisha Macklin – Colorado

Tamisha spent twelve years in the foster care system. She lived in foster homes, kinship care placements, and juvenile detention. She was placed in restrictive settings, however, through her resilience she re-acclimated into the community and became an advocate. She has served as a member of the Bridging the Gap Youth Leadership Board, which helps foster youth make successful transitions into adulthood.

Tamisha has helped pass several bills through the Colorado Legislature. She regularly speaks at case worker and foster parent trainings. She was part of the Breakthrough Series Collaborative Project as a crossover youth advocate, helping to promote collaboration between the various stakeholders in the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice and court systems for crossover youth. Tamisha is in the process of completing her Associates Degree in Human Services. She hopes to become a youth diversion worker or a counselor.

 

 

Violet Ramunni – Ohio

Violet spent 12 years in Ohio’s foster care system and had 10 placements. Violet not only had to endure the life of being a foster child, but experienced abuse while in care. Through the trials and tribulations Violet encountered, she never gave up on herself. She is now enrolled in college and pursuing a Bachelors in Social Work. She plans to use her skills to help transitioning foster youth succeed in their personal goals, since she did not have this help when she transitioned to adulthood.

 

 

 

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Scout Hartly.pngScout Hartley– New Jersey

Scout entered the New Jersey child welfare system at the age of 14 and primarily stayed in kinship placements until he aged out of the system at age 21. Despite struggling with mental health issues, he was able to graduate high school on time and transition to college with the financial assistance from a local nonprofit serving foster youth. Currently studying public administration, Scout is planning for a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Organization Management with a possible future of law. Scout is a political enthusiast. He spends most days following esoteric issues of our nation and the world.

 

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Brian-Morgantini_300.pngBrian Morgantini  – Pennsylvania

Brian entered Pennsylvania's foster care system at age four and experiences over 25 different placements, including kinship, family foster care, and congregate care. He was separated from his brother when his brother was adopted by their aunt, and Brian aged out of the system at age 18. 

 

Brian currently resides in Los Angeles. He hopes to obtain his Bachelor’s of Art in History and Pre Law with a minor in Business. Brian is a strong child advocate, he has been on his local Youth Advisory Board and has helped develop a “Teen Success Agreement.” He was chosen to be a foster youth representative in May 2015 for FosterClubs “Shadow Day.” During his time at “Shadow Day” he spoke with Congresswoman Karen Bass, and his story is now apart of the House Bill, “Education Stability for Foster Youth.” Brian will continue to strive and focus on child advocacy as he plans his future.

 

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Nicolee 2.jpgNicoLee Rohac – Pennsylvania

NicoLee spent several years in kinship and foster care, including group homes until she aged out. She remembers having several case workers, child advocates and CASA volunteers during her foster care experience. NicoLee was impacted by the lack of control she was allowed to have over her life, but remembers her independent living classes, and feels her experience in care assisted her to grow up to be an assertive advocate and shape her career path.  

NicoLee has earned her BA degree in Psychology at Washington and Jefferson college. She also earned a Masters of Social work from the University of Pittsburgh and is a licensed clinician working with adopted children and children in foster care.

 

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Antionette.jpgAntionette Rucker - Georgia

Antionette was placed in foster care at age 13. She was in foster care and group homes, having 7 placements. She had better experiences in group homes, rather than foster homes. Antionette lost her mother to cancer while in foster care and this led to her diagnosis.

Ms. Rucker is a senior at Albany State University completing her degree in social work. She is a member of the policy team at Georgia EmpowerMEnt, a Veteran Tribe Development Coordinator, Jim Casey “Young Fellow”. Lastly, Antionette is founder and president of Fostering Through College at the University, an affiliate of the Embark Georgia Network.

 

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\ed.pngEdwyn ‘ Ed’ Shoemaker – Massachusetts

Before aging out of the child welfare system at 18, Edwyn cycled through many homes and organizations and times experiencing homelessness.

Edwyn is currently pursuing his Masters degree in public policy and administration from Wilmington University. He has assisted former congressman and UMASS President Marty Meehan, and experience in policy and political elections on a state and national level. He is a volunteer and passionate about social and human rights issues. He is a member of Massachusetts Foster Care Alumni of America where he is a volunteer as the education chair.

C:\Users\VIVIAN\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Word\Victor Sims.pngVictor Sims - Florida

Victor entered foster care at just 4 months old and experienced 11 different family foster homes and 13 different schools. Eventually Victor landed in the Sims’ home, where he was adopted by the loving and supportive family.

Victor has overcome many odds to excel in his education. He has received multiple awards and recognition; including membership in the National Honor Society, and elected as president of student government. His experiences in foster care made achievement in school very difficult, yet he persevered through these barriers and graduated on time and is currently attending college at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He will graduate with his BS degree in May, 2016. He plans to pursue a career in politics and give back to his community with the hopes of changing the way society views children in and from foster care and improving the views and negative statistics.