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At the Center — Jan-Mar 2013

NCYL’s Foster Youth Education Initiative Welcomes Pete Hershberger

Pete Hershberger

Pete Hershberger

Pete Hershberger has joined NCYL as Manager of FosterEd Arizona. He will be responsible for planning and implementing FosterEd’s pilot project in Pima County and working to expand it to a statewide program over the coming years.

Pete has worked in juvenile justice, child welfare and behavioral health in Tucson, Arizona for over 30 years. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, who has worked in direct services in institutional, residential, and community settings as well as administration. He has supervised both foster care and therapeutic foster care programs.

Pete served 8 years in the Arizona House of Representatives, 5 years as Chairman of the Human Services Committee. In 2003 he founded the Arizona Children’s Caucus, a bipartisan caucus in the legislature promoting children’s issues and received numerous state and national awards. Pete served one year as Chairman of the Human Services Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures and served two years on the Legislative Working Group of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.

Pete received his B.A. from Colorado College and his M.Ed. from the University of Arizona.

NCYL Staff Attorney Fiza Quraishi and Vera Institute alumna, was featured in Vera’s newsletter Just ‘Cause, reprinted below.

Vera Institute – Alumna Profile: Fiza Quraishi, by Elias Isquith

Fiza Quraishi

Fiza Quraishi

Fiza Quraishi recalls being an “inexperienced 22-year-old” Barnard College graduate when she started working at the Vera Institute of Justice in the fall of 2000. While she knew she wanted to help young adults and children, she wasn’t sure just how and did not have much experience in juvenile justice. Twelve years later, Quraishi is 
a staff attorney for the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) in Oakland, California, working on behalf of those in California’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

She credits her experience at Vera for launching her career. “My passion for kids in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems” really started during my time
 at Vera,” she says. “I realized I wanted to work with youth who had been failed by the broken systems that were supposed to protect them, and I decided to use research and the law to help.”

Quraishi joined Vera as a member of the Project Confirm demonstration project led by Molly Armstrong. This initiative focused on ensuring communication between the child welfare and juvenile justice systems to reduce the number of foster youth who found themselves unnecessarily placed in detention for low-level offenses that would not usually lead to detention for children with parents or guardians. As a project team member, Quraishi saw how bureaucratic stasis and
 a lack of information-sharing between agencies can impede the systems people rely on for security and justice, often with the most vulnerable as the unintended victims.

“My time at Vera made it clear to me that knowing the law, how to navigate systems, understand rights, and [how to] think like a lawyer can be really helpful when advocating for policy change,” she says. Quraishi did not begin her young adulthood with a burning desire to obtain a JD. But while working at Vera, she decided to enter law school with a goal in mind: “I went [to law school] knowing I wanted to be a child advocate.”

In the years after she left Vera, Quraishi pursued her commitment to youth justice in a variety of settings. Before landing in California, she directed Brooklyn’s Red Hook Youth Court delinquency prevention program and went on to attend University of Michigan Law School. During her time in law school, Quraishi spent one summer at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and another as a clerk focusing on child welfare litigation for NCYL. In 2007, she received the University of Michigan Law School’s Jane L. Mixer Memorial Award for promoting social justice in the law and, upon graduating, was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship with the NCYL.

Under the fellowship, Quraishi worked on improving access to mental health services for youth in foster care and juvenile justice systems and on three class-action lawsuits concerning the way foster youth gain access 
to individualized home-based services. She also filed a writ in California that resulted in changes to the state’s policy on public assistance for relatives of former foster youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Currently, Quraishi is working to reform the delivery of mental health services for youth involved in both the foster and juvenile justice systems and is also seeking to improve data collection and sharing among youth-involved state agencies.

This article originally appeared in Just ‘Cause, the quarterly newsletter of the Vera Institute of Justice. www.vera.org

NCYL welcomes Law Clerk Yacoba Annobil

Yacoba Annobil

Yacoba Annobil

NCYL welcomes Law Clerk Yacoba Annobil! Yacoba is a second-year law student interning at NCYL as part of Harvard’s Child Advocacy Program and Clinic. Yacoba holds an undergraduate degree in Geography from Dartmouth College. She has experience working with children in the child welfare system and tutoring at-risk youth. At Harvard, Yacoba participates in Streetlaw and the Leadership & Mentorship Program, which provides guidance and mentorship to high school students of color. This past summer Yacoba interned at the Juvenile Rights Practice of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, representing children in child protective cases. At NCYL, Yacoba is working with Staff Attorney Erin Liotta on child welfare and foster care issues.

Terry Hancock joined the NCYL Board of Directors in 1984. At various times during his service on the Board, Terry ably served as President and Vice President. Terry has resigned from his position on the Board in order to enlist in the Peace Corps with his wife Ellen Pirie. They will be leaving for Ethiopia in July where they expect to teach English. Terry is a longtime legal services attorney and the former Executive Director of Senior Citizens Legal Services. Ellen served 12 years as a Santa Cruz County supervisor. Read the Santa Cruz Sentinel article about their departure.


Photos: St. Patrick’s Day Party

Francis Guzman, Lauren Hansen, and Erin Liotta

Jesse Hahnel, Lisa O’Connor, and Rachel Velcoff Hults

Miranda Perry and John O’Toole

Anna Johnson

Anna Johnson and Miranda Perry

Jesse Hahnel’s daughter, Eleanor

Carrie Hahnel and son, Beckett

Francis Guzman

Eleanor Hahnel

Lauren Hansen and Ned Opton

Hayden Lilien and Francis Guzman

John O’Toole and Francis Guzman

Beckett Hahnel

Beckett Hahnel

Ben Winig, Mala Subramanian, and son, Rohan

Nancy Berger and daughter, Clara

Nancy Berger and daughter, Clara

Jason Berger and daughter, Clara

Nancy Berger and son, Sam

Hayden Lilien and Maya Cooper

Jason Berger and daughter, Clara

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