Amy West wears many different hats. On any given day, she could be sitting in class as a MSW/MPA graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, advocating for a teen in Nebraska’s foster care system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer, or working on a research project with the Nebraska CASA Association through her practicum. Nebraska Appleseed is excited that Amy has decided to take on yet another role as our new Policy Coordinator for the Child Welfare Program.
“I’ve been working in child welfare for over seven years. I got involved with the adolescent population early on, and I loved it,” West said. At Appleseed, Amy will focus on improving how our foster care system works for an often ignored population: adolescents who are preparing to age out of the system. Currently, youth leave the system at age 19 with little or no support or resources to assist them with the sudden responsibility of caring for themselves. Part of Amy’s job at Appleseed will be working to insure Nebraska takes advantage of the federal Fostering Connections Act to extend foster care services for youth until age 21, including efforts to improve youths’ access to transitional housing and educational services after they leave the system.
Amy makes the commute from Omaha three days a week, leaving behind her beloved cats, Jasper and Twiggy. Despite the drive, Amy is glad to be a part of an organization with a history of advocating for change and equality. “I’m really excited for the opportunity to make more systemic changes at Nebraska Appleseed and to work in an environment where others have that same passion.”