Jessica Rae, Esq. – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jessica Rae has represented hundreds of children and teens in Child in Need of Assistance and Termination of Parental Rights proceedings, first as a staff attorney and then as a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Bureau in Baltimore City, Maryland.  As Legal Aid’s Assistant Director of Advocacy for Children’s Rights, Jessica supervised the statewide child dependency appellate practice and focused on systemic advocacy through a mix of appeals, training, community outreach, legislative work and youth engagement.

After nine years at Legal Aid, Jessica left to join the Baltimore City Department of Social Services where she managed the Ready by 21 initiative created to improve outcomes for older youth in foster care through a mix of policy and programming.

After one blizzard too many, Jessica and her husband moved to Florida where she became certified as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem in the 6th district and  later a senior attorney.  In 2012, Jessica joined the Community Law Program where she represents teens aging out of foster care.

Jessica looks forward to the day that every child, teen and young adult involved in the foster care system has an attorney.

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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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