Miranda Sheffield

[(advocate + mother) x foster adult] = RESILIENCE

Miranda Sheffield is a mother, advocate, foster adult, and a recent graduate of Cal State Los Angeles with a degree in sociology. She currently serves as the Children's Law Center Fostering Success Connections Peer Coordinator. Before joining CLC, Miranda worked with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) on youth engagement and assisting with the Team Decision Making for transition age youth. Miranda also served as a foster youth intern with the Congressional Coalition Adoption Institute in Washington, DC. She envisions using her advocacy and child welfare experience to create broad changes in housing access, increasing visibility and resources, and stronger court engagement. Her work focuses on empowering youth to self advocate, and realize their true potential.

QUESTION: Why did you get involved in the Fostering Resiliency project?

ANSWER: It was a legitimate opportunity to create change. The research wasn't about recognition, or the public spotlight. It's about doing something innovative that could identify how resilience plays a role in the success or challenges of people impacted by foster care.

QUESTION: What perceptions about the foster care experience do you hope to change?

ANSWER: I hope to really change the way we go about reforming the foster care system. I hope we make changes around the youth's potential not their deficits. We have made so many policies and laws that diminish the opportunities of youth in foster care to discover their gifts. While these laws are well intentioned, the unintended consequence is that foster youth start to believe that their weaknesses are their only reality. As a result we encourage a public focus on what assets foster youth "don't" have instead of the qualities and strengths that make us resilient against all odds.

QUESTION: What impact do you think Fostering Change can have on the foster care community?

ANSWER: I think Fostering Change is going to have a huge impact on the foster care community. Everyone behind this project are young people and adults who have already successfully navigated the child welfare system. Having his group of foster care alumni gives a real authenticity to the voice of change and the work to influence progress. We are a community of advocates who truly care about improving the outcomes and we are selfless in our desire to ensure that every child impacted by foster care reaches their fullest potential.

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