Photo of Kate Divasto

Kate DiVasto

  • Hosted by Youth Advocacy Foundation
  • Sponsored by Baker Botts LLP, Dell Technologies
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2021
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Kate (she/her/hers) will provide client-centered legal representation and systemic advocacy to ensure adolescents in foster care access personalized comprehensive services for their transition into adulthood.

The Massachusetts foster care system consistently fails to provide the children in its care with federally-mandated comprehensive services to support their transition into adulthood. This failure causes devastating harm to Black, Latinx, and disabled children who are disproportionately separated from their families and placed into foster care. Adolescents in foster care have the lowest high school graduation rates in Massachusetts and face increased risk of homelessness, poverty, and further trauma as adults.

The children in foster care deserve a lawyer who will advocate alongside them to ensure that the state implements policy and action so that every child in their care accesses the personalized community-based resources necessary for their transition into adulthood.

Kate’s project is motivated by her experiences working with resilient young people facing challenges from systems involvement, disabilities, and/or mental health issues. Kate is dedicated to disrupting the oppressive systems that harm young people by ensuring that systems-involved young people have their voices heard and are given the personalized community-based resources they need to achieve their goals.

Fellowship Plans

During the Fellowship, Kate will work with teens in the foster care system to provide legal representation on educational matters regarding their rights to access tailored transitional services. She will survey young people previously or currently in the foster care system to understand the qualities of effective community-based resources that will inform policy advocacy, as well as build connections to resource providers in the under-served Springfield area. Kate will also train child advocates and pro bono attorneys on legal advocacy techniques for getting comprehensive transitional services for youth in foster care and/or with special education needs.

It is essential to center the expert voices of young people in foster care when making decisions about their lives so that they will receive the resources, community supports, and self-advocacy skills they need to thrive as adults.

Kate DiVasto /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Hasti Anderson

Host: Florida's Children First

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Lori Turner

Host: Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU of Illinois

Sponsor: McDermott Will & Emery

Renee Erline

Host: Children's Law Center of DC

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Kathleen Ford

Host: Sacramento Child Advocates, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP