Family and Youth Initiative


DCFYI Orientation
Tuesday, June 15

Learn more or take the next step to being a mentor, weekend host parent, adoptive parent, or event driver.

RSVP from the website calendar.


Susan Punnett is quoted in this Politico article about challenges migrant children and children in foster care face in getting the COVID vaccine.

Creating relationships that can lead to an adoption like Monyay's is part of what we do at DCFYI.

Here's to the "power of love" even when it gets "bumpy."

Three young men and their mom talk about what being adopted as teens has meant to them.

Celebrating just one of the many LGBTQ parents who become parents to children in foster care. One of the five sons being adopted now as adults by this DC dad is a former DCFYIer!

Senators address the long-term impacts of the pandemic on youth in foster care.


DCFYI is seeking volunteers to serve on our Fundraising committee.


Help us expand DCFYI's reach and find more weekend host and adoptive parents for wonderful teens. Like our social media pages and comment and share posts so other people will see them.

Thank you!



Your support means more teens in foster care will have lifelong connections with caring adults and find adoptive families.

Connecting teens, creating families, changing lives

Three decades of a court case

Earlier this month the District of Columbia finally emerged from the LaShawn A. class action lawsuit filed on behalf of children in foster care back in 1989.

From the perspective of today, it is hard to remember the financial challenges the District faced in the 1980s and how under resourced many agencies, including the child welfare system, were. There weren't enough social workers and those workers had neither the resources they needed nor often appropriate policies to follow. Children suffered. This recap describes what happened to Demerick, a three year old who was one of the named plaintiffs in the case:

He was initially placed in a short-term emergency care facility, where he remained for three years, despite repeated pleas from facility staff to move him to a foster home. During his three years at this facility, no worker from the Department ever visited him. In the nearly two years after Demerick’s case goal was changed to adoption, the Department had done virtually nothing to effectuate the adoption, leaving Demerick languishing in “emergency” care.

To read any summary of the LaShawn case is to be reminded of the many steps forward and back, plans agreed to and when not met re-negotiated.

My introduction to child welfare came with the appointment of the first General Receiver in 1995. One takeaway from my years working in the Receivership was a belief that a little flexibility and openness to new approaches could result in many more (especially older) children finding adoptive families. That started a path that led years later to the founding of Family & Youth Initiative.

The end of the LaShawn case is a reminder that change is possible and systems can improve. But there is still work to do, including to improve outcomes for the too many teens who do not find permanency but remain in foster care until they "age out." These are the youth for whom DCFYI continues to make change.

We are grateful to all of you who have joined with us to help these older children find family. Thank you,

Upcoming Events

Game Day!
Saturday July 17,12-2 pm
Test your skills as we gather outdoors to play board and card games.

Photography Workshop
Saturday August 7, 12 - 2 pm
Have fun with teens while learning new photography skills.

As DCFYI continues to slowly open up and being mindful of ongoing covid-related concerns, we are keeping event attendance low and prioritizing unmatched teens and adults. Please contact Chanelle for information and to register for events.

Events are on the DCFYI website calendar.

Volunteer Training Session
Training session on relationship boundaries for DCFYI host families and mentors who are matched with a teen. Wednesday, June 23, 6-7:30 pm

This session is also the kick-off to an ongoing volunteer support group to be facilitated by social worker Dianna McFarlane.

RSVP on the website calendar.

Celebrating a birthday?
Give teens in foster care the gift of family by creating a Facebook fundraiser for DCFYI in honor of your special day.

Follow these quick and easy instructions.

Comings and Goings

Operations Coordinator Julie Kennedy will be leaving us later this month. We are so grateful for all she's done to improve our processes and put new systems in place and wish her the best as she moves on to a new position.

And that means we are hiring. If you know a super organized go getter looking for a part-time position, please share this information with them. The position is open until filled.

Clark Ray

We were deeply saddened to learn of the death last weekend of Clark Ray. Clark and his husband Aubrey Dubra were early and generous DCFYI volunteers. (This photo of Aubrey and Clark was taken at an event at the Building Museum back in 2010, before they met the one of their four sons who is a former DCFYIer.) Clark's death leaves a huge hole in the lives of his family, a wide circle of friends, and high school athletes across the District through his work as Executive Director of the DC State Athletic Association. He will be missed.

853 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Suite 200
Washington, DC 20003

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