ATI 2015 Opening Speaker: Darla Bardine

Darla Bardine is a public interest attorney dedicated to fighting for youth and their families who live in poverty, face homelessness, and struggle with violence, discrimination, and exploitation. Ms. Bardine is connected to runaway and homeless youth providers throughout the United States and the youth they serve. Their voice drives the work of the National Network for Youth.

Prior to Ms. Bardine becoming the Executive Director, she was the National Network’s Policy Director. As the Policy Director since January 2013, she has led the successful re-launch of the National Network for Youth and in her new position as the Executive Director will take on even more responsibility in the day-to-day operations.  In her short time with the Network she has demonstrated her outstanding leadership and ability to bring people together to work for greater access to services and housing for America’s runaway and homeless youth.

As the Policy Director at the National Network she:

  • Created and lead the RHYA 2013-2014 Reauthorization Working Group
  • Launched a Policy Advisory Committee
  • Created the National Youth Advisory Counsel
  • Successfully advocated for runaway and homeless youth programs to federal agencies andU.S. Congress
  • Spoke at national and local events all over the country
  • Visited homeless youth shelters throughout the United States and spoke with young people and program staff
  • Wrote several resource guides for runaway and homeless youth providers and their allies
  • Created and launched our first National Summit on Youth Homelessness on Capitol Hill

Prior to joining the National Network for Youth, Ms. Bardine was a federal policy advocate for families struggling to navigate complex criminal justice and child welfare systems while searching for safety and healing.  Ms. Bardine built several successful national policy advocacy coalitions and effectively educated federal and state policy makers.  This work resulted in increased support and services for disconnected and vulnerable children and their families.  Ms. Bardine has also helped conduct leadership and policy advocacy trainings for grassroots advocates throughout the United States.
At Georgetown Law, Ms. Bardine taught, conducted research, and wrote on topics affecting vulnerable youth who have limited to no access to the care they need.  She created the Fight Child Exploitation in Tourism Initiative in South Africa to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and worked on policy issues affecting children in Washington, DC’s foster care system.

Ms. Bardine earned her J.D. from Georgetown Law, her M.A. in Nonprofit Management from the University of Roehampton, London, UK, and her B.S. in Criminal Justice from Pennsylvania State University.