YLC Transforms Foster Care Nationally through the Quality Parenting Initiative

By Giving List Staff   |   April 29, 2022
Foster parents Darlene and Curtis Bell

YLC launched the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) over a decade ago as a national movement committed to ensuring that all children in care have excellent parenting and lasting relationships so they can thrive and grow. YLC’s impact in Minnesota, one of 80 jurisdictions across the country working to transform foster care through QPI, was recently featured in the Imprint, a national news outlet focused on the nation’s child welfare and youth justice systems.

“When longtime foster parents Darlene and Curtis Bell welcomed four kids into their home in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, they took a crash-course in preparing pepper soup and fufu. And within 24 hours of arriving at the Bells’ place, the siblings were served their favorite dishes.Learning about the foods they loved from the children’s Nigerian mother provided critical information to help the siblings feel welcomed and comforted. To prepare the dishes, the husband and wife team reached out to Nigerian friends and neighbors. And they, too, became part of smoothing the children’s transition to foster care. “The kids were just overjoyed that they had this network of aunties that knew their language, knew their culture, were a part of their culture and that me and my husband were connected,” Darlene Bell said. “It was huge for the kids.” The Bells are pioneers of the “comfort call,” an initial phone call foster parents make to the children’s parents to exchange vital information. Do they have a nickname? Do they need the light on to sleep? What triggers or soothes them? The Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) is making that phone call a norm in sites across the country, with the aim of strengthening relationships between caregivers. Launched in 2008, the initiative is based on a simple premise: kids in foster care deserve excellent parenting. The program began in Florida and is now being practiced in 80 locations in 10 states, including Minnesota and large states like California.” 

Read the entire article highlighting YLC’s impact through QPI at https://imprintnews.org/foster-care/minnesota-works-for-quality-parenting-in-foster-families/63833 and donate to support this transformational work to put children’s needs first today!


Youth Law Center

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(415) 314-4386
Executive Director: Jennifer Rodriguez


The Youth Law Center advocates to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive.

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We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s Director of Development and/or Executive Director.

YLC is, quite simply, effective. The team, led by Jennifer Rodriguez, is top notch, bringing together legal expertise, lived experience, a commitment to being youth-centered, and the advocacy chops to effect systemic change. A recent example is the advocacy around out-of-state placements for foster youth. YLC researched 16 facilities housing CA kids and found abuse, neglect, appalling conditions, and rights violations. YLC’s advocacy campaign resulted in the State of CA halting admissions to those facilities and beginning the process to decertify them in favor of family-based placements. Systems change work takes time but is deeply satisfying, and why the Foundation continues to support YLC.
Nancy Wiltsek, MNA
Executive Director, van Loben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
The Youth Law Center is truly a cornerstone organization, successfully building a network of nonprofit and public sector advocates committed to promoting pathways to and through postsecondary education for youth connected to the juvenile justice system. By fostering links between the probation system and California’s higher education institutions, YLC and its policy advocacy strategy have advanced the notion that justice reform must meaningfully include youth. The team at Youth Law Center is a valuable thought partner to Cal Wellness as we consider our investments to help improve the wellbeing of youth who are too often ignored.
Jeffrey S. Kim, JD
Program Director,
The California Wellness Foundation

Give to Create Opportunity for Justice-Impacted Youth

Donations to the Youth Law Center will directly support its advocacy to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems so that every young person has access to postsecondary education. 

“With additional funding, we can expand our advocacy to ensure that more youth become tomorrow’s leaders,” says Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center’s Executive Director.

To illustrate the important impact of donations:

•A $1,000 gift would allow YLC to invest in the leadership of a justice-impacted youth to work in partnership with advocates on policy reforms.

•$20,000 is enough to fund an entire advocacy leadership academy to give young people the skills they need to change the very systems that so often hurt them.

•With $100,000, YLC could launch a campaign to secure additional state investment in postsecondary education for justice-impacted youth in order to ensure equitable futures for tens of thousands of vulnerable young people.

Key Supporters

Alyssa Martin Anderson
Babak Naficy
Chrystie Chung
Fatima Goss Graves
Heidi Foreman
Honorable Tomar Mason
Howard and Carol Fine
Iris Hu
Joy Singleton
Katee Peek
Matthew and Moon Gemello
Mehrzad Khajenoori
William S. Koski and Sundari Wind
Akonadi Foundation
Andrus Family Fund
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation
May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Tipping Point Community
van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
The Walter S. Johnson Foundation
Zellerbach Family Foundation