National Foster Youth Institute

Joi Alexandria Ocasio Cortex


D.C. Lawmakers Push Reform to Honor Relentless Advocate for Wisconsin Foster Youth, Taken by Coronavirus

Family and friends have a common saying about Dosha DJay Joi of Milwaukee, who died last week at age 28 from coronavirus-related complications: He lived up to the sweet sound of his name.


Showing Up as a Teacher and a Student

My name is Ivory Bennett. I am currently 29 years old. And I spent roughly 17 years of my life in foster care because of my mother’s extreme mental illness. At this point in time, I am a high school English teacher and a cheer coach, all the while being a full-time graduate student in two programs.


Resources I Relied on Have Come to a Halt

It isn’t all that uncommon for former foster youth to live in poverty after transitioning out of the foster care system. To give you a better idea, let me provide you with some numbers.


What Foster Youth Shadow Day Meant to Me

On June 4, 2019, I had the privilege to shadow Congresswoman Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) and advocate for change within our national child welfare system. This event was granted to me through the National Foster Youth Institute’s Shadow Day program, which gives former and current foster youth a chance to find their voice and speak up for change.


National Survey Finds Expanding Number of College Programs for Foster Youth

The number of college assistance programs for current and former foster youth is growing, but there are still major gaps in helping students access them, according to a national survey of state-run colleges.


Los Angeles Orders Agencies to Report on LGBTQ Services for Youth in Foster Care

In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a motion aimed at improving the experience and outcomes for LGBTQ youth in the child welfare system.


    Q&A with Rep. Karen Bass: Engaging Youth, Educating Congress

    Since coming to Washington, D.C. in 2010, Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass has fast become one of the House’s lead champions on child welfare issues. Her first major piece of legislation, the Uninterrupted Scholars Act, was signed into law in 2013 and allows for caregivers to access education records of foster youth to help guide their academic process.


    Search for New Los Angeles DCFS Director Includes a New First

    A meeting that was the first of its kind for Los Angeles County pulled together foster youth, community organizations, kinship caregivers, and other concerned citizens this past weekend to cultivate ideas and discuss what qualifications they would like to see included in the search for a new director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).


    What is Courage?

    You may know me as a writer, but I am also well known for my advocacy work with the juvenile justice system and the foster care system. I previously wrote an article about art as a form of therapy.