Shadi Houshyar (Former Staff) Vice President

Shadi serves as First Focus’ Vice President for Child Welfare Policy. She has experience working with families involved in the child welfare system and is particularly interested in identifying opportunities to address the health and behavioral health challenges of children and youth impacted by the child welfare system. Shadi is also director of the State Policy Advocacy & Reform Center (SPARC), a national resource center for state-based advocates, aimed at improving outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system by building the capacity of and connections between state child welfare advocates. Shadi oversees a growing network of state-based child welfare advocates participating in SPARC and works collaboratively with state child welfare advocates to set SPARC’s agenda of issues and activities.

Shadi received her PhD in developmental psychology from Yale University, where she worked with children who were maltreated, and concentrated her research on identifying factors that foster resiliency in children exposed to trauma. Shadi’s graduate research involved an evaluation of an intervention program in the state of Connecticut designed to minimize multiple placements, re-abuse, and re-entry into the child welfare system. Her research was recognized by awards from Division 37 of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Section on Maltreatment of Division 37 of APA, and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students. While at Yale, Shadi served as a Fellow of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy. After graduating, Shadi went on to serve as a AAAS/SRCD Congressional Fellow in the Senate, working on education and health policy in the Office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM). She has experience in policy communications and government relations and served as a Senior Associate at Burness Communications - a communications firm working exclusively with non-profits and foundations in the health sector.

At First Focus, she is leading our efforts on child welfare policy.

Resources by Shadi Houshyar

Major child welfare reform legislation to come in new year

| December 9, 2015 |

Congress, and the Senate Finance Committee in particular, has long demonstrated leadership on and commitment to child welfare reforms. A number of critical reforms

Senators Casey, Murray and Warren introduce Foster EITC Act to expand important tax credit for former foster youth

| December 2, 2015 |

In late November, Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Foster EITC Act, a bill intended to increase

A Look at the Challenges of Intercountry Adoptions

| November 19, 2015 |

According to the National Council for Adoption, globally, intercountry adoptions hit a peak in 2004, following a steady rise in numbers beginning in the

He may not like the law, but he should follow it!

| November 13, 2015 |

This week, a Utah judge ordered a couple, April Hoagland and Rebecca Peirce, to give up a baby girl they had welcomed into their

New Report Urges Continued Support for Helping States’ Keep Kids in Families

| November 11, 2015 |

In the past decade, the percentage of children placed in congregate care settings has significantly decreased at a greater rate than the overall foster

Medicaid provides critical health coverage for young people aging out of foster care

| July 31, 2015 |

As Medicaid turns 50, we reflect on its milestones in providing health care coverage for vulnerable youth in this country, including children in the

Senator Casey Introduces Legislation to Ensure that Former Foster Youth Can Access Health Coverage

| July 23, 2015 |

Today, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015. This legislation removes a significant barrier to health

Every Kid Needs a Family

| May 19, 2015 |

In its latest KIDS COUNT policy report, Every Kid Needs a Family: Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance for Success, the

A Major Victory for Former Foster Youth in New Mexico

| April 7, 2015 |

Today, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation requiring the state to provide Medicaid coverage to former foster children up to age 26 regardless

Senator Bob Casey (PA) Offers Critical Amendment to Finance Markup

| January 28, 2015 |

Today, the Senate Finance Committee is marking up legislation to allow companies to hire veterans without requiring that they be counted as full-time workers