Fostering Change: Young Man Works to Impact Indiana’s Foster Care System

Feb 28, 2024 | Impact, Policy & Practice

Jordan O., a young person with foster care experience, is working to change the lives of teens and young adults with foster care experience.

Jordan first entered the foster care system at the age of seventeen. One of his first experiences with leadership and Foster Success was with the Indiana Youth Advisory Board.

“In May 2017, I went to an IYAB meeting. If I hadn’t gone, I would have never known what it was like to have my voice heard,” Jordan said.

IYAB provides a safe space where young people with foster care experience can connect and grow with one another. The board focuses on encouraging advocacy to support others with foster care experience.

“The meeting coordinator, Will, wanted me to present at this conference. Then I became an IYAB Leader,” Jordan said.

Having been formerly supported by Foster Success, he now works as a case manager for young people with foster care experience.

“I mainly work with foster kids. What’s important is establishing familiarity and serving as a beacon of hope. Having had foster care experience myself, I’m able to relate to them,” Jordan said.

In his advocacy, Jordan mentioned that one of the most fulfilling aspects has been the impact he’s had on people like him.

“Sometimes I’ve given speeches at the statehouse. I once had twelve people say that I’ve inspired or helped them. That’s twelve individual lives I’ve impacted,” Jordan said.

Despite his skill with politics, Jordan credits much of his confidence and success to Foster Success. Maggie Stevens, the President & CEO of Foster Success, has had a significant impact on him.

“I would say one-hundred percent of the things I’ve done is because of Foster Success. I would be lost without Maggie,” Jordan said.

Jordan said that the best thing Maggie has done to support him is simply believing in him.

“It’s just knowing that someone believes in you and wants to see you succeed,” Jordan said. 

For Jordan, advocating for young people has allowed him to shine a light on the obstacles they may be facing. Talking with state officials made him realize that the issues faced by young people with foster care experience are being recognized.

“It means the world that they care and are paying attention to what kids in foster care need,” he said. “It’s just knowing that we’re valued.”

Since he began working as a case manager, Jordan has noticed how dedicated many other young people with foster care experience are to supporting others.

“I’ve noticed that former foster youth who come into this field are very passionate about helping. They know what it’s like to be in that situation,” he said. “That’s why they have a burning desire to help.”

Being a part of L.E.A.D. has allowed Jordan to realize what else should be done while working to improve the foster care system for others. The leadership training has provided him and others with an opportunity to discuss ideas.

“L.E.A.D. is a great way to start discussing policy improvements and such. There needs to be more table talks and discussion about what to do next,” Jordan said.

L.E.A.D. is a part of Foster Success’s Youth Engagement program. L.E.A.D. centers around developing young people’s skills in advocacy, policy, public speaking, strategic sharing, and other areas.

“Who better to talk about the foster care system than someone who’s experienced it? I have an involuntary degree in foster care. None of these changes that happen come without the input of people in foster care,” Jordan said.

More information about Foster Success and its programs can be found at

By Gracie Elmer, Foster Success Marketing & Communications Intern

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