First Focus, together with Representative Geoff DavisRepresentative Dennis Cardoza, and Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) hosted a congressional Briefing on Tuesday, May 15th on “Talking Foster Care with Country Music Star Jimmy Wayne.”

25 percent of former foster youth experience homelessness within four years of exiting foster care. Jimmy Wayne performs and speaks throughout the country to raise awareness for foster youth who age out of child welfare with nowhere to go. At the briefing spoke about his experience as a former foster youth and then homeless teen before becoming adopted by his former neighbors, and the resources that foster children need to build successful adult lives.

While it is important for states to take advantage of the option to extend care past age 18 under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, it is equally important for states to place importance on creating a personalized transition plan that includes input from the youth and allows a youth to make their own decisions. Fostering Connections requires that states create these plans, and develop them at least 90 days prior to a youth aging out. These plans are essential to ensuring that youth who age out of care become successful and independent adults.

The other panelists included:

  • Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus
  • Michael Piraino, CEO, National CASA Association
  • Amy Dworsky, Senior Researcher, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
  • Latisha Alvarado, former foster youth, Denver, Colorado
Please also check out pictures from the briefing on the First Focus Facebook.

For more information contact Cara Baldari at or at 202-657-0640.