Maria Contreras is the Community Policy Associate for the Collaborative Responses to Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Initiative at the National Center for Youth Law. In this role, Maria aims to ensure that state policy and practice to identify and serve youth impacted by commercial sexual exploitation are driven by community and lived experience expertise.
Prior to joining the National Center for Youth Law, Maria worked as a Youth Advocate at WestCoast Children’s Clinic serving youth involved in Alameda County foster care and juvenile justice systems and used her lived experience to advocate with and on behalf of those youth. She obtained her bachelor degrees in political, legal and economic analysis and ethnic studies and a master's in public policy from Mills College.
Originally from Mexico, Maria has lived everywhere in the Bay Area but has made Oakland, California her home. Maria has a loving partner and two children that she adores. In her spare time Maria loves to garden, cook, travel, and go for frequent walks around the neighborhood.