2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Alexandra St. Pierre

Alexandra St. Pierre

City, State: West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: The Florida Bar Foundation; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; The Florida Bar

The Project

Alexandra is providing holistic direct representation and systemic legal advocacy to youths as they age out of the foster care system and transition to early adulthood in order to preserve legal rights and ensure a more successful transition to independence.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
More than 1,000 youths age out of foster care every year in Florida with few resources to help them transition into adulthood. By age 26, many have experienced periods of homelessness and depression, and approximately one-third have only a GED or high school diploma, which limits job prospects and leads to high unemployment rates. To begin a reversal of these poor outcomes, this project, “Successful Transitions,” will help provide stability during this impor-tant and daunting transition period by ensuring that these foster youths’ legal rights are respected and enforced through direct legal representation, know-your-rights workshops, and systemic advocacy.
Highlights to Date: 
In the first year, Alexandra has:
• Provided direct representation to more than 50 young adults
• Presented numerous trainings to attorneys and service providers throughout Florida
• Wrote a bench memo on extended foster care for juvenile judges throughout Florida
• Participated in coalitions to ensure proper implementation of the new independent living laws and to develop best practices for obtaining benefits
What's Next: 
In the next year, Alexandra plans to:
• Continue providing direct representation to young adults as they transition to out of foster care
• Advocate for fixes to Florida’s extended foster care law, as well as other legislative changes that will benefit foster youth transitioning to adulthood
• Continue to work with and build a network among service providers to ensure that a solid foundation of services exists within Palm Beach County that can be replicated throughout the state

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