Hoang Murphy is the Founder/Executive Director of Foster Advocates, a social venture that aims to improve the child welfare system in Minnesota by providing advocacy, policy, and organizing with former foster care recipients and impacted communities.
A former high school English teacher and debate coach, he has seen the importance of amplifying student and family voices. Hoang also has had the honor of serving as the Public Policy Fellow with the United States Department of Education in the last year of the Obama Administration.
As a former foster care recipient he knows that children and families must, and absolutely can, have a seat at the policymaking table. At Foster Advocates, he works to ensure that those most impacted by current inequities have a voice in making decisions and crafting solutions. Hoang is a proud first-generation college graduate, with a B.A. from Syracuse University, where he majored in Policy Studies, and a M.S., Ed. from the Johns Hopkins University. In his spare time, he likes to brag about the Eastside of St. Paul, cook, and lament about the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Cassaundra Adler is the Advocacy Director of Foster Advocates. A former financial advisor, she brings two decades of experience as a financial education advocate and champion for individuals without bank accounts, also known as the unbanked.
A transplant from Chicago she has called Minneapolis home for two decades although she will always be a Chicagoan at heart (we won't hold this against her). Adler is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs where she previously was a Humphrey Public Policy Fellow, and Roy Wilkins Community Fellow.
As a former ward of the state in Chicago and as someone who worked with youth in group homes, Cassaundra brings a wealth of experience to her post as Advocacy Director as a disruptive and outside the box thinker. Before graduate school she was an avid cyclist, does photography, travels, loves musicals and spending silly time with friends and their children.
Iola is the Program Coordinator/VISTA of Foster Advocates. As a former public speaker on birthing in the African American community, and birth and postpartum doula; Iola is no stranger to advocating and working with families.
They most recently worked as an advocate in forming the “Doula bill” and currently is part of CVAS with the Hennepin County Department of Health working in birth mortality within the Black community. Iola is currently a student at Concordia University- St Paul, finishing their degree in Business Management and Leadership.
Iola, who is a former ward of the state and later an adoptee, has worked in mental health with other fosters working in trauma informed care, has a zeal to serve alongside their foster community. They are a native of St Paul’s ‘Old Rondo’ neighborhood and in, Iola’s off time you can find them kayaking, juggling seven kids, or collecting cats.