About Think of Us

Think of Us operates as a Research and Development Lab for child welfare, transforming the system so that people with Lived Experience are at the center of designing, imagining, and building. 

The Child Welfare system is failing, causing greater trauma for the youth and families it is meant to serve. More than 70% of siblings are separated, 20,000+ youth age out each year, and 36%+ of aged out youth experience homelessness. Riddled with systemic racism, private interest money, and the criminalization of poverty, there is a devastating human cost to the gap between the goals of child welfare and its outcomes.

We envision a world where every person has the conditions they need to Heal, Develop, and Thrive. Think of Us strategically engages projects across tech, participatory research, and state and federal partnerships, driving system-wide solutions that bridge the gap between policy, practice, and people.

Timeline of Our Work

Founded and led by former foster youth, Think of Us has evolved from a technology non-profit to a Research and Development Lab. We Spark, Support, and CoDrive new approaches to child welfare, centering lived experience every step of the way.

2021

Expanding our Reach

Our work is expanding rapidly at the intersection of tech, data, and partnerships. We are publishing new research, building new tools, and engaging a national community of lived experience, fueled by key contracts from California and Washington DC and anchor investments from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and others.

We are working to systematically center lived experience, not just within our projects but in every element of how the child welfare system operates.

Projects

Spark

Support 

  • Away From Home: Ending Congregate Care
  • State of Washington: Designing the Office of Adolescence 
  • Binti: Co-Designing Youth Centered Case Management
  • Launch #HackFC App: State Community of Practice and Children’s Bureau proximity partner
  • LA County: Quarantine Housing

CoDrive

2020

Taking Action in a Pivotal Moment

Think of Us 2.0 was born as we turned our focus to bridging critical systemic gaps in support for foster youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging support from key funders, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, #StartSmall, and the Aviv Foundation, we quickly established direct resources and launched an action group to assist states in adjusting their practices to align with the immediate needs of foster youth.

This timely action and its resulting impact solidified our reputation as a nimble, solution oriented organization that centers lived experience in unique ways.

Projects

Spark

Support 

CoDrive

2019

Transformation with a Clear Trajectory

Emerging from the New Profit Accelerator Initiative, Think of Us evolved from a technology non-profit to a Research and Development lab with a clear focus - transforming the child welfare system.

We formalized our research methodology and, in sites across the country, led our first ever discovery sprint to fully understand the experience of aging out from those who lived it.

Projects

2016-2018

Think of Us 1.0

As a technology non-profit, our primary efforts included development of the Think of Us App and hosting Hack-a-thons across the US (including in partnership with the White House).

Think of Us formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2017 with a vision to create a virtual tool to support young people aging out of foster care with the connections, resources, and tools they need to thrive.

Projects
  • Sidekick
  • Hack-a-thons: Los Angeles County, Santa Clara County, Richmond, VA, New York City, NY, and state of Nebraska
  • Think of Us App

2014-2015

The Beginnings of a Vision

As a college student, Sixto launched Think of Us with a vision to create video content that was honest, direct, and whole where people with Lived Experience in foster care, rather than actors, represent their experience first hand. This early work catalyzed a commitment to integrating those most affected by the system into telling its story.

Projects