Since 1999, we have have led the effort in improving policy and programming for child welfare entities across the United States and internationally through integration of the Alumni of foster care voice, as we are also Alumni of the foster care system.
All FCN consultants are alumni of the foster care system. FCN is the only organization in Maryland, and possibly in the United States, that can make this claim. Fostering Change Network is uniquely positioned to anticipate and to provide for the needs of foster youth, foster parents and the staff members throughout the public and private sectors who work with and support the foster care system. Unlike just about any other child welfare-related organization, our work resonates through-and-through with the legitimacy of our direct experience.
Child Welfare Expertise: Fostering Change Network’s expertise in child welfare begins with Founder and CEO Shalita O’Neale, a well-known, highly trusted and widely recognized professional in and outside of both social work and foster care networks In addition to her own experience in the foster care system, Shalita possesses over 13 years’ experience working and advocating for youth in the foster care system. In 2011, she was honored as one of The Daily Record’s 20 In Their Twenties and the BFree Daily’s 2nd Annual 10 People to Watch Under 30. In October 2013, Shalita was featured as one of Baltimore Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and one of Prince Georges County Social Innovation Funds' 2015 Forty under 40. In 2015, Shalita was named one of Baltimore Business Journal's 40 Under 40. Most recently, Shalita was named “Mom of the Year” by the American Mothers’ Organization, the organization founded by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt that originally established “Mother’s Day” as a national holiday.
A Global Network of High-Achieving Alumni Leaders in Economic Sectors: Under Shalita’s leadership, FCN has recruited and activated a steadily growing, global network of former, now professionally successful foster youth dedicated to improving outcomes for foster youth, either through their work as consultants for FCN or through their own business and community endeavors. Each member of our network is dedicated to supporting each other to achieve our entrepreneurial and/or professional goals.
Grant-writing and Resource Development
Program and Organizational Development (Start Up and Implementation)
Youth and Young Adult Engagement
Child Welfare Advocacy
Strategic Planning (Program and Organization)
Child Welfare Training, Policy and Legislation
Our Clients and Training Expertise (Partial List):
- New York City, Administration for Children Services (NYC ACS), Train the Trainer, Art and Science of Success Curriculum for transitioning foster youth (developed by Fostering Change Network)
- Child Welfare Academy, Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children, Statewide Foster Parent Training (Maryland)
- DC Child and Family Services, development and facilitation of 3 month, Youth Leadership Training for Youth Advisory Board.
- Department of Human Resources –Facilitation of 2-day Youth Advisory Board Retreat (Maryland)
- Statewide Permanency and Adoption Network – Keynote Address for Annual Conference (Pennsylvania)
- YMCA of San Diego – Two Day, Youth Engagement Framework Implementation Training (California)
- Family-Focused Treatment Association (FFTA) – Engaging the Alumni Voice Workshop for National Group of Child Welfare Professionals (New Orleans)
- Daniel Memorial National Foster Parent Conference Workshop for Foster Parents and Case Managers, Engaging Youth in Transition Planning (Florida)
- Action Ohio – Capitol Hill Advocacy Initiative to Address the Foster Care to Homelessness Pipeline (Washington, DC)
- The Buckeye Ranch –Ongoing, Statewide Foster Parent and Staff Training (Ohio)
- Youth Advocate Services, Inc. – Staff Training on Effective Foster Parent Recruitment Strategies (Ohio)
- Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies – Ongoing Staff and Foster Parent Training in Developing Self-Reliance Among Foster Youth (Ohio)
- State of Ohio Child Welfare Training Program – Ongoing, Statewide Staff and Volunteer Training on Permanency, Self-Reliance and Independent Living Skills for Foster Youth. (Ohio)
- The Village Network – Staff and Foster Parent Training on Permanency and Independent Living Skills for Foster Youth
- Youth Advocate Program (YAP) – Development of Independent Living Curriculum (Ohio)
- Our Home Base, Inc. – Development of a Case Statement, Foundation Proposal Template, Introduction to Principles of Fundraising and Introduction to Advisory Board Recruitment and Management (New York)