Looking back at your work with the state legislature over the last 16 years, what are you most proud of accomplishing?
I was on the outside at first, and worked with them when I was with the Children’s Advocacy Institute. [But] working for legislators, the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that we elevated the issue of children living in foster care–how we prepare those youth for self-sufficiency when they emancipate from that system.
How did you get started as an advocate for children?
In 1996, I went to work for the CAI, a general children’s advocacy organization. We were involved in all these issues: foster care, children living in poverty, education, juvenile justice system. Of all those groups, foster kids seemed to stand out as most in need of an advocate, because they had no family. There wasn’t anyone who was lifetime-committed to these youth, and they were languishing in a system where there were professionals caring for them, but not someone who loved them.