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Youth members named to Indiana Children's Commission

Screenshot of Zoom

Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children added two new members this year – young people with experience in the state’s foster system.

Stephaney Knight and Dejuna Rodriguez were named to the commission after lawmakers early this year created the youth member positions.

Both Rodriguez and Knight are college students, and both have experience not just in the child welfare system, but also advocating for improvements in that system. Rodriguez said she jumped at the chance to join a much bigger platform.

“A lot of the advocacy work I was doing – at times, it could be a little bit discouraging because I’m like, I want it to be further, further, further," Rodriguez said. "I wanted to reach more people.”

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Knight said she appreciates lawmakers wanting commission members with her kinds of experience.

“So, us bringing in our perspectives would be a big help for helping us understand different policy as well as them, from our standpoint, how that would affect us, as youth,” Knight said.

Knight and Rodriguez will each serve two-year terms on the commission.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.