As we start the new year, CASA MN is reflecting on the many incredible people and organizations that we get to work with who are contributing their time, talent and expertise in service of kids.

We are honored to work in partnership with them and want to highlight the wonderful work they are doing. One of those remarkable people is Shawna Bullen-Fairbanks.

Shawna was part of the foster and kinship care system in Minnesota as a child. She is motivated to use her lived experience to offer a helping hand to kids in the system today and uses her voice to improve the foster care system for kids moving through it after her.

Her work has included testifying at the Capitol, serving on advisory boards, organizing and presenting at conferences like Leaders for Change, and so much more.

One year ago, CASA MN sponsored Shawna’s participation in the FosterClub AllStar Internship. FosterClub is a national organization providing young people in foster care with a national network of peers. The AllStar Internship is an intensive training and development program that assists young people with experience in foster care to turn their experience into service

As Minnesota’s AllStar Intern, Shawna received four weeks of training in foster care advocacy before traveling to Oregon to join other AllStar’s from across the country to prepare and facilitate a retreat for teens currently or formerly in the foster system. 

Shawna found that being surrounded by and engaging with the youths she was advocating for was refreshing and motivating. “Being immersed in a community where other fosters are present, really made me feel welcome, seen, heard, and gave me the feeling of home. I learned from other states what we could be doing better here in Minnesota and I am bringing that knowledge back to my work here.”

The most important message Shawna wants to convey through her work is that “current and former foster youth deserve support, normalcy, equitable treatment, and permanency – whether that’s with biological, adoptive, or chosen family.”

CASA Minnesota
PO BOX 454
Minneapolis, MN 55343

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Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Minnesota is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (National CASA). A grant from National CASA supports this website and our efforts to encourage communication, development, and effective advocacy for CASA volunteers and Guardians ad Litem statewide.

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