Maryland Foster Youth Resource Center reaches out to current and former foster youth by assisting with life skills and resources.
We are professionals with backgrounds of direct involvement with foster youth and others in the foster care system. Having experienced the foster care system ourselves, we offer a different perspective and can perhaps reach out to the youth in a way that will motivate and inspire them.
Meet our Executive and Outreach Staff:
Shalita O’Neale, MFYRC’s Executive Director, is a former foster youth from Baltimore, Maryland, where she spent 19 years collectively in kinship and foster care. She entered kinship care at the age of 2, bouncing back and forth among family members before officially entering foster care at 13. Shalita was then placed with foster families and later placed in a group home before entering college. She graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a BA in criminology in 2004 and is currently seeking her Master of Social Work at the University of Maryland Baltimore.
Shalita’s passion is to give back to the foster youth community. She addresses numerous seminars, conferences and workshops on the foster care experience. She feels that it is the responsibility of able former foster youth, the government to whom foster children belong, and the society in which they are expected to live, to ensure they receive life skills, resources, and support enabling them to become successful and contributing members of society.
Shantel Randolph, Director of Youth Advocacy at MFRYC, is also a former foster youth who aged-out of Baltimore City’s foster care system at 21. In 2007, Shantel was awarded the Open Society Institute (OSI) Community Fellowship to begin work with Foster Youth Inc. Shantel used her OSI Baltimore Community Fellowship to help other young people in foster care successfully advance to adulthood, specifically working with a group of 15 to 18 students at the Baltimore Freedom Academy, either in foster care or aging out of care. They participated in her program called “Foster Youth Incorporated” or FYI, which empowers foster youth to advocate for improvements to Maryland’s foster care system.
In 2009, Shantel became the Director of Youth Advocacy at MFYRC, where the FYI program now operates. Shantel’s experience has developed through forming collaborations and partnerships with other community organizations and businesses to assist foster youth with life skill trainings and advocacy. Shantel, along with FYI, made a film entitled “Youth Entering Foster Care” which can be used as an educational/advocacy tool for foster youth to learn about the court system. Shantel and MFYRC are also working to expand the FYI program to other Baltimore high schools. The plan is to train FYI’s original members to act as liaisons between MFYRC and the new high school sites. These paid youth liaisons would counsel other youth about getting the most out of the foster care system. Shantel feels that by creating a safe place for foster youth to express themselves, they can creatively strive toward maintaining a stable, balanced life after high school.
Larry Owens, MFYRC's Outreach Coordinator, previously worked for the Legal Aid Bureau of Maryland, Children In Need of Assistance (CINA) Unit, as a Child Advocate Paralegal, for 4 years. Larry had the pleasure of working one-on-one with, and advocating on behalf of, youth in the foster care system in Baltimore City. Larry graduated from Morgan State University with a BA in Political Science in 1997.
Larry helps identify MFYRC's clients' immediate needs for housnig and vocational assistance, as well as addressing longer-term goals with them. He has a strong passion for the youth we serve and is excited to work intensively with them to ensure they’re connected to the resources they need to thrive.