Current and former foster youth share their thoughts and suggestions about life in and beyond foster care.
Best Practices for Working With Older Youth in Foster Care: Critical Worker Competencies as Reported by Youth in Foster Care and Independent Living: Focus Group Results
Ragg & Ziefert (2004)
Presents results from a Children's Bureau-funded study that used youth from Michigan, Ohio, and Oregon to elicit feedback about helpful and nonhelpful child welfare worker qualities and traits. Includes a list of specific skills a worker would need to work effectively with youth.
Child Welfare Resources
Youth Communication/NY Center, Inc.
Books for purchase, written mostly by teens in foster care, on issues such as being adopted, experiences with family court, and thoughts about staff and foster parents.
Emancipated Young Adults' Perspectives on Independent Living Programs
Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 86(4), 2005
Examines the quality of services received while in foster care, makes recommendations for improving services and life satisfaction levels, and includes reasons for nonparticipation in programs.
Youth Communication, Inc.
This magazine, formerly known as Stories from Foster Care Youth United, is written by and for teens in foster care.
Voices of Youth: Supporting Adolescents in Foster Care
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2001)
Videotape that features youth discussing the difficulties and challenges faced in foster care, describing the people who made a difference in their lives, sharing personal thoughts about family and emancipation, and closing with advice to future foster parents.
Youth Leadership Development Conference Report. Destination Future.
National Resource Center for Youth Services (2001)
Youth participated in groups to identify barriers and solutions for services created as part of the Chaffee program; outlined several challenges to forming the lifelong relationships necessary to support independent living; and recommended that agencies should involve youth in program planning, screening and monitoring placements, recruiting homes for teens, and facilitating the development of relationships.
State and local examples
California Youth Connection
Current and former foster youth and community members working for policy development.
Independent Living Theatre Project
Institute for Families at the University of Denver (2003)
Describes a Children's Bureau grant to develop a theater production about youth in the child welfare and foster care system in Colorado. The video presents the reactions of professionals to the production, as well as several monologues and skits written by the youth in which they share their personal thoughts and experiences.
In Our Own Voices: Foster Youth Tell of Life in Care
California Youth Connection (2003)
Videotape that contains case studies, produced by foster youth, for a training program for social workers about the needs of adolescents preparing for emancipation. Illustrates various aspects of their experience in care and addresses the social worker's role in supporting foster youth through difficult situations.
A Summary of Foster Youth Recommendations From California Youth Connection Conferences (PDF - 360 KB)
Scott, Sanchez, & Grice (2002)
Presents information accumulated from statewide conferences addressing topics such as education, mental health, transitional housing, aftercare and emancipation services, health care, improving social worker services, and improving foster parent services.
Transitions: Building Better Lives for Youth Leaving Foster Care (PDF - 1810 KB)
Children's Action Alliance (2005)
Key project findings and policy and program recommendations based on the results of focus groups and interviews with youth in Arizona who were over age 16 and facing the transition out of foster care or who had already aged out of care.
Youth Perspectives on Permanency (PDF - 110 KB)
Describes foster youths' extensive personal experiences with the child welfare system in California. Includes strategies for empowering foster youth to achieve permanency, including providing access to information about different permanency options early on and listening to their wishes.