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Panel 4: Health & Mental Health Among Foster Youth in Transition

Curtis McMillen, PhD
Curtis McMillen

Curtis is a Professor at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. His research on youth aging out of foster care laid the foundation for understanding the mental health complexities of unmet needs among young adults in transition. He focuses his work around improving mental health services for children and youth in foster care, including developing and testing interventions for youth in the foster care system, helping youth develop emotion regulation capacities, and helping their caregivers better de-escalate young people in the midst of an emotional episode.

Kym Ahrens, MD, MPH
Kym Ahrens

Kym is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and a practicing physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Institute. Her interests are in promoting positive physical and mental health outcomes in at-risk youth. She has a particular interest in understanding and developing ways to improve health outcomes among youth transitioning out of the foster system. Her current work is focused on developing both youth and caregiver-focused interventions to improve reproductive health outcomes among adolescents in foster care.

Julie Shapiro, MPP
Julie Shapiro, MPP

Julie is the Executive Director of The Door, one of New York City’s leading youth development agencies, offering comprehensive health, legal, mental health, career and education, housing and arts programs to nearly 10,000 adolescents and young adults each year. She has extensive prior experience in human services, broadly, and in workforce development specifically. The Door runs one of the most highly regarded reproductive health programs for marginalized youth in the state.

Jen Miles
Jen Miles

Jen Miles is a 22-year-old young adult who aspires to be a social worker, to let children in care really know that someone truly cares about them, and that there is someone there for them. She enjoys dancing, listening to music, and watching K.C. Undercover. Jen also wants to become a hip-hop dancer. Finally, Jen works as a peer navigator for the ‘Bravehearts’ of New York Youth MOVE.