Danielle Gadomski Littleton
Name of Host Organization: The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
City, State: Cleveland, Ohio
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation
Danielle worked to eliminate barriers to a successful transition into adulthood for children in foster care and youth aging out of foster care in Northeast Ohio through direct representation and systemic advocacy. Danielle also educated youth to advocate for their own future, empowering a new generation of foster care advocates in Cleveland.
Need Addressed By Project
Foster youth in Cleveland face unique challenges in a city where 53 percent of children under 18 live below the poverty level, incarcera-tion rates exceed state levels, and graduation rates trail state levels. Nationally, 33 percent of the youth who age out of foster care do not have a high school diploma or a GED, 28 percent have been arrested, and 22 percent experience homelessness. No organization in Cleveland focuses specifically on the civil legal needs of youth in and aging out of foster care. Many need an advocate to help them address issues such as special education needs, housing, public benefits, and immigration status.