Vanessa Davis has over 15 years’ experience in social services combined with lived experience as a former foster youth, a former licensed foster parent, and someone that has struggled immensely to overcome childhood trauma and abuse. Vanessa entered care at the age of three, having upward of 16 placements before aging out of the system at 18 years old, completely unprepared for adulthood. She experienced homelessness and hopelessness, but through perseverance, faith and hard work, she slowly began to build a life for herself.
Vanessa’s passion for bringing about durable change for overlooked communities can be felt by all who know her. For the past seven years, Vanessa has used her lived experience and creative passion to design services that fill gaps for transition age foster youth. In her previous role as Youth Services Director at Just in Time for Foster Youth, she identified a clear gap: mental health services that are relevant, transformative, individualized, and realistic for transition age foster youth. She conducted focus groups and surveys, and interviewed and collaborated with clinicians and service providers to develop a curriculum called Rise to Thrive. Vanessa has since transitioned into her new role as co-manager of Foster Youth in Action. Her work will focus on helping to build the collective capacity and collective power of national member led groups within the FYIA Network.