In 2015, 23-year-old Angelique Salizan spent the summer in Washington, D.C., participating in the annual Foster Youth Internship Program. Operated by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), the program places young people with experience in the child welfare system into summer stints with senators, representatives or committee staff on Capitol Hill.
Each of the interns researches and writes a policy recommendation that goes into a collection presented to Congress. A recent graduate of Binghamton University, Salizan proposed a federal law that required states to designate one educational-vocational specialist (EVS) in each child welfare agency. She credits the person who held that position when she was a foster youth with helping to get her on a path to higher education.
Salizan is headed back to Washington, this time to become policy director for CCAI. She succeeds Taylor Vitello, a veteran leader at the coalition who left to join the nonprofit Think of Us as director of proximate policy.
“Over the past six plus years, Angelique has been a great friend and volunteer to the organization, and we are thrilled to welcome her back to our small but mighty team doing big things on behalf of vulnerable children and families,” said CCAI Executive Director Kate McLean. “Angelique brings tremendous expertise and excellence to CCAI, and I am confident she will continue to build on the positive momentum in children and family policy in collaboration with the caucus and its leaders in Congress.”
Salizan stayed on Capitol Hill after her summer internship, working for three Democratic members of the powerful Senate Finance Committee: Ron Wyden (Ore.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio). As a legislative correspondent for Brown, she led his office’s efforts to pass legislation to ease state implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act, and to provide housing vouchers for youth and young adults aging out of the foster care system.
Salizan said she will work remotely for a short time from Cleveland, where she has served as policy manager for the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and then relocate to D.C.
“I am eager to build on the established advocacy and policy efforts at CCAI,” Salizan said. “My priority is to collaborate with Members of Congress, child welfare leaders, and impacted voices to holistically resource and educate the caucus on nonpartisan policies to ensure children all over the world have a permanent, safe, and loving family.”