California Youth Connection, one of the most respected foster youth advocacy organizations in the nation, has a new director after a six-month search. Turns out, the answer was in the office the whole time.
As the novel coronavirus gripped the Bay Area late last March, the previous director’s sudden departure sent CYC’s board out on the hunt for a new leader of the Emeryville-based organization. On Tuesday, the board named CYC’s second-in-command, deputy executive director Janay Eustace, to run the 32-year-old, youth-driven nonprofit with four offices throughout the state.
“We are thrilled to welcome Janay, a trusted leader and dedicated child welfare advocate with 20 years of experience, into this new role,” the organization stated in a news release.
A former foster youth herself, Eustace started with California Youth Connection as a member in the Sacramento office at the age of 14 and immediately made an impact. Over the years, she worked in increasingly responsible roles, until she was named deputy director in June.
Eustace will take over for interim executive director Robin Allen, a longtime nonprofit manager who was drafted by the board to provide a steady hand during the six-month search for a permanent chief. Allen stepped in after the organization’s former executive director, Haydée Cuza, resigned shortly after announcing plans for layoffs and restructuring in the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Janay will be an incredible leader and advocate for foster youth in this new role, drawing on her own experience and bringing the voice of youth to the table in policymaking,” said Frank Mecca, executive director of the County Welfare Directors Association.