Advocate of the Year is presented to a Federation member who has played a strong role in carrying out the mission of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families: to influence public policy and practice in support of the highest quality services to vulnerable children and families.
Khadija Walker-Fobbs, Executive Director of The New Foster Care, was presented with the 2019 Federation Member Advocate of the Year award in recognition of her consistent involvement in the Federation’s advocacy efforts.
When thinking about a Federation member who is highly involved in advocacy efforts and systems change, Khadija comes quickly to mind. In the fall, Khadija’s organization spearheaded and convened a candidate forum to facilitate discussions to develop more informed voters. Khadija understood that both statewide and local candidates for office do not always address the many issues that matter to children and families involved in the foster care system, and she proceeded to develop a forum led by youth to ask important questions about foster care. Khadija was very involved in the Federation’s Annual Executive Legislative and Advocacy Day, maximizing the number of legislators and staff that she spoke with about the Federation’s state budget and policy priorities. Through The New Foster Care’s work at Fostering Success Michigan, the organization testified to the House of Representatives in support of increasing funding available through the Fostering Futures scholarship fund. The organization has also supported the Annual Teen Conference and the National Foster Youth Institute’s first legislative Shadow Day in Lansing, bringing youth voices to the public policy process, which is essential and a priority to Khadija and her team. Khadija is both a skilled advocate for her agency, and colleagues in the field know she is someone who will act to ensure kids, families, and especially teenagers, are equipped with the best resources to be successful and thrive in their communities.