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Illinois’s Dani Townsend visits Washington DC to spread foster care awareness

December 9, 2014
Contact:  Ryan Schiele, Communication Director, 503-717-1552

Illinois’s Dani Townsend Visits Washington DC and
The White House to Spread Foster Care Awareness

This week, FosterClub member Dani Townsend visited the White House in Washington DC, met Vice President Joe Biden and his daughter, Ashley Biden, and viewed a premier showing of the new movie Annie, starring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.

Dani, age 21, entered foster care when she was born. Her paternal aunt retrieved her from care, but then she was returned to her mother. Unfortunately, Dani entered foster care a second time at age 15 due to abuse, and she once again was placed in foster care with her paternal aunt. Dani just aged out of foster care — meaning that she became too old to receive foster care services — in March.
On any given day, there are over 400,000 young people in our nation’s foster care system and over 23,000 youth age out. This week’s event at the White House highlighted new steps the Administration is taking to help support the foster youth in our nation’s care. The event hosted current foster youth and foster care alumni from around the country and culminated in an appearance of cast members and filmmakers of the new movie Annie and a screening of the film.

Dani has been highly involved in efforts to improve the foster care system through advocacy. She attends Danville Community College, studying social work and psychology. Eventually, she plans to pursue a masters and PhD. She currently works at Insomnia Cookies, but plans to pursue a career in the child welfare system.

“The personal journeys of young leaders from foster care, like Dani, are nothing short of remarkable. She’s lived the foster care experience and carries valuable expertise about how the system works for children,” said Celeste Bodner, FosterClub’s Executive Director. “This week’s event at the White House provided a stage for their voices to be heard and to elevate awareness about foster care, and the incredible resilience of young people.”

Other FosterClub members who will participate include Alex McFarland, age 24, of Ohio; Dustin Haley, age 24, of Texas; Eliza Coones, age 20, of Utah; Sabrina Holland-Baker, age 20, of Oregon; Dameika Merriwether, age 19, of Michigan.

FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care. Learn more about the foster care system and how to support young people in foster care at



Photo caption:
21-year-old Dani Townsend, on the far left, spent the week in Washington DC with other FosterClub young leaders.

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