Promoting Pathways to Long-Term Success for Systems-Involved Youth

Promoting Pathways to Long-Term Success for Systems-Involved Youth
Promoting Pathways to Long-Term Success for Systems-Involved Youth


Young people involved in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems often face significant challenges to long-term success. Systems-involved youth may struggle with an array of education and workforce barriers that hinder their path to postsecondary opportunities and a family-sustaining career. This webinar explored critical elements at the intersection of policy and practice for supporting systems-involved youth on a pathway to long-term success. Featuring high-quality, research-supported community-based programs from across the country, presenters will discuss issues of data and information sharing, flexible funding, and education and workforce experiences to better support youth with systems involvement.

Presenter Biographies

Darrin McCall 
is originally from Michigan, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University in 2007. While living in Michigan, Darrin worked in a residential treatment facility for children in the child welfare system. He relocated to New Orleans to obtain his Masters in Social Work from Tulane University. While he was a graduate student at Tulane, Darrin was a Social Work Intern at YEP and was subsequently hired by YEP after his graduation in 2009. Darrin is currently the Director of Programs at YEP, and he oversees YEP’s Community Based Case Management and Enrichment Programming. He is also YEP’s point person for program evaluation and performance management. Prior to his role as the Director of Programs, Darrin has been the Director of YEP’s Village program, Work & Learn Center, and YFI program. Darrin has more than 14 years of applied professional experience working with underserved and vulnerable youth.

Serita Cox
, along with husband Reid, launched iFoster in October of 2010. Serita brings to bear her personal experience in foster care, devoted commitment to a number of youth development initiatives, and over a decade of experience in executive-level management at Fortune 100 companies, corporate strategy consulting and non-profit strategy consulting. Prior to founding iFoster, Serita was a strategy consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders accelerate social change. Her primary focus areas were child welfare and juvenile justice, with clients including some of the largest philanthropic foundations and non-profits serving at-risk youth. Her previous work experience has been in the for-profit sector where she both worked as the Vice President of Strategy and Business Operations leading global strategy, and business operations for the $500 Million Business Connectivity line of business for 3Com Corporation, and as a consultant and senior leadership advisor on strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and e-business for Fortune 100 companies in technology, finance, and pharmaceutical industries. For her work at iFoster, Serita has been recognized by the White House Office of Social Innovation as a Citizen Innovator, is an Echoing Green Fellow, and an American Leader of Change. Serita has a BSc (Highest Honors) in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from Carleton University in Canada, and an MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the Bronfman School of Business at McGill University in Canada. She was a National Research and Engineering Scholar, a Collegiate Athlete of the Year, and a member of a world-champion National Water Polo team. Serita currently serves on the Board of Directors of GirlTrek, a national non-profit that mobilizes women in Black communities to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a habit of daily walking. Serita can be contacted at Serita’s professional profile can be found at:

Alan Lessik is the Executive Director of Civicorps, the only accredited high school and job training program in Oakland, CA for opportunity youth ages 18-25 who have previously not finished school. With a graduation rate of 72% and 73% of graduates in jobs and careers one year after, Civicorps has a successful model that incorporates two Social Enterprises. The enterprises provide paid job experience to corpsmembers and generate over $3 million/year of revenues. Civicorps is a partner in the Oakland –Alameda OYI Re-Engagement Center Network. Alan serves as President of the California Association of Local Conservation Corps, a statewide advocacy organization for opportunity youth and has lead several policy initiatives through the California Legislature. Previous leadership positions include the American Friends Service Committee; Out & Equal, an LGBT workplace advocacy program; the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium; and, the Federation of Gay Games. He has an MA in Social Change and Development from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a MMA from Metropolitan State University. His debut novel, The Troubleseeker, was a finalist for the 2017 LGBTQ Fiction Award given by the Publishing Triangle. In his spare time, he is a zen practitioner and a competitive adult figure skater.

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The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.