Historically, the White House has been entirely disconnected from people with lived experience in child welfare and the context and expertise they can provide. As a result, federal policy designed to better the lives of children and families has lacked understanding of the problems within the system and the needs of those it serves. As the White House sets the priorities for the entire federal government, this lack of proximity has meant young people and their families have faced significant barriers that could have been addressed.
At the invitation of the Biden-Harris Administration, Think of Us engages with the Office of Public Engagement, the Domestic Policy Council, the Office of Management and Budget, and other relevant White House offices on issues that are directly and indirectly related to child welfare. In this work, we actively integrate the voices of individuals with lived experience in child welfare by sharing data, participatory research, and direct feedback of child welfare stakeholders. Rather than limiting our contribution to the views of our singular organization, TOU creates proximity by inviting individual, organization, and state child welfare players to share issues they face and perspectives on policy. We synthesize this information to provide the Biden-Harris Administration with relevant, actionable insights into the barriers and needs of people impacted by child welfare.
We participate in bi-weekly meetings with the Office of Public Engagement. During the meetings TOU shares updates and information from child welfare stakeholders.
Our work was featured by CNN, “‘This is way beyond collaborative. I would almost say it's like co-designing...This is not about advocating, but about proximity. We are truly helping people in the White House understand the experiences and getting a pipeline to the right offices,’ said Cancel...who grew up in foster care.” (CEO Sixto Cancel)
CEO Sixto Cancel has:
Our collaborative efforts have resulted in: