Get to Know Tony
How did you first come to know C.A.S.E.?
I first heard of C.A.S.E. in passing during my internship with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute as a Foster Youth Intern in 2014. I recently became more acquainted with C.A.S.E. through my mentor and former C.A.S.E. board member Jelani Freeman who connected me to the Emerging Leaders. I also had the chance to meet C.A.S.E. CEO, Debbie Riley at the 2021 Angels in Adoption Gala hosted at Senator Mary Landrieu’s home.
Why did you want to become an Emerging Leader at C.A.S.E., and what do you hope to achieve during your time as a Board Member?
As someone who works in child welfare advocacy and as an adoptee, the general belief is that adoption is how foster youth and families achieve their “happily ever after.” While this does happen, it is often overlooked that it takes a significant amount of work to ensure that it does. Working as an Emerging Leader will allow me the opportunity to contribute to a group of individuals that understand the importance of providing services, supports, and education to families to ensure adoptive families stay together. Also as an African American male, I believe I can help further any race equity work the Emerging Leaders may hope to do. As well as empower youth who struggle with being adopted embrace their power and own their story.
Tell us about your life outside C.A.S.E.: What do you do professionally and what are your interests outside work?
Outside of C.A.S.E. I serve as the Federal Policy Specialist with Youth Villages, a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health committed to building strong families, delivering effective services and significantly improving outcomes for children, families and young people involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems across the country. I also work as a Young Adult Consultant with the Capacity Building Center for States and am a member of the National Foster Youth Institute. Outside of my child welfare pursuits, I love to lift weights, bake, and perform theatre, especially musicals!
Tony Parsons, has built a career working on behalf of children, youth, and families across multiple systems. He began as an intern with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute where he produced a policy report with recommendations for increasing permanency for foster youth. After graduating from Michigan State University, he worked in education. As an academic advisor for educationally gifted students in a low income community, he drafted curriculum, elevated student voice in the decision making process, and convened stakeholders to improve educational outcomes. He also worked in a systems level change capacity with the Michigan College Access Network, helping low income, first generation, and/or students of color realize their potential of accessing higher education.
Currently, Tony manages a diverse youth policy portfolio including the Family First Prevention Services Act, Medicaid, education, and juvenile justice among others for Youth Villages. Youth Villages is national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health committed to building strong families, delivering effective services and significantly improving outcomes for children, families and young people involved in child welfare and juvenile justice systems across the country. Additionally, Tony serves as a Young Adult Consultant for the Capacity Building Center for States.