This blog originally appeared on the Family Focused Treatment Association site.
We are pleased to announce that Matt Priest is the recipient 2023 Dr. Laura Boyd Champion for Children & Families National Advocate of the Year Award.
Matt Priest serves as the Director of Foster Family Services at Boys Town. He has been an instrumental advocate for advancing social policies in the field of child welfare. He has given two decades of service to the well-being of children and families in the foster care system. Mr. Priest has focused his career on making the lives better for children and families in the child welfare system. His knowledge of the ins-and-outs of the system is invaluable and his advocacy for case professionals, resource & foster parents, foster children and families is commendable.
Mr. Priest has worked tirelessly to promote the importance of family connections and sibling relationships. He has served on work groups and councils to increase awareness of this critical need. Foster children are frequently separated from their siblings and this has a lifelong impact on the quality of their relationship. Their sense of belonging and family is forever altered by loss of family connections. Mr. Priest recognizes this and works to educate others on how to avoid the detrimental impact of severed or weakened family connections. Additionally, Mr. Priest recognizes the importance of kinship and relative families for children in foster care. He has advocated for his agency to provide excellent service to these families.
Mr. Priest has volunteered to serve as the spokesperson for agencies in serving foster youth across Nebraska. He excels at identifying gaps and initiating conversation about possible solutions. His systematic approach to solving problems has led to work groups that will impact children and families for years to come. Mr. Priest compiles data to support the trends seen within the child welfare system and drive decisions to make the biggest impact. Mr. Priest has written letters to government officials to share this data, has attended legislative hearings and has collaborated with state Senators to raise awareness for the needs of families in foster care.
Mr. Priest was recognized at the FFTA 19th Annual Public Policy and Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C., and his agency will receive a $1,000 award to support future child and family advocacy initiatives.