“The best part of my work is when I am able to connect young people directly impacted by the policies under discussion to the channels of power. The more we take our cues from young people’s leadership, the more likely we are to achieve justice for their generation.”
Nia West-Bey is CLASP’s director of youth policy. In this role, she leads a team that seeks to advance a vision for policy and systems change co-created with youth and young adults, ages 16-25, that centers safety, healing and well-being, and economic and racial justice. The team advances policy, community strategies, and investments that support economic mobility, community safety, equal access to quality health and mental health resources, and that dismantle structural barriers preventing youth of color and youth with low incomes from opportunities to transform their lives. Previously, Dr. West-Bey was a senior policy analyst with CLASP’s youth team, where she focused on youth and young adult mental health, two-generation policies and strategies to support young parents of color earning low incomes as well as girls and young women of color. She has expertise in youth development, qualitative and quantitative data interpretation and analysis, and the intersection of psychology, social policy, and program evaluation.Prior to coming to CLASP, Dr. West-Bey co-founded and spent 10 years as executive director of a community-based nonprofit organization offering youth development programming to young people in foster care in Washington, D.C. Through this work, she had the opportunity to learn and experience how national and local policy impacts disconnected youth.Dr. West-Bey earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in community psychology from New York University and completed her undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College.