Engaging and Involving Teens

Teenagers who are actively engaged and involved in their permanency planning can provide valuable insight and direction in identifying the best permanency options for them. They are also some of the most effective advocates for themselves and their peers when provided opportunities to be involved in recruitment, orientations, and trainings for prospective adoptive parents. This section provides useful information on how to more effectively engage teens in permanency planning and support them in making decisions about their future.

Authentic Youth Engagement
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Provides resources on authentic youth engagement and emerging best practices, including a factsheet on core values and principles for youth engagement developed at the National Summit on Authentic Youth Engagement.

Adoption Competency Curriculum
Spaulding for Children (2017)
Provides access to a comprehensive curriculum for training child welfare practitioners in public and private agencies who provide adoption services for children and youth who have been abused or neglected. The course includes written and DVD training materials, with a module specifically on child/youth assessment and preparation.Scroll below the MEPA curriculum to access the Adoption Competency Curriculum. 

Four Steps Judges and Court Professionals Can Take to Promote Permanency for Youth in Foster Care (PDF - 1,331 KB)
Voice for Adoption & Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (2016)
Provides four easy steps that judges and court professionals can take to help ensure youth in foster care find lifelong permanent connections.

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Offers information on the challenges facing older youth aging out of foster care and also examines strategies for youth engagement in case planning and permanency.

Preparing Children and Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency
Series Title Bulletins for Professionals
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Availability View
Download (PDF - 406KB)
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Year Published 2013
Discusses services for children and youth in foster care to address their readiness and preparation for adoption and other permanent relationships. It focuses on ways that child welfare workers and other adults can help to prepare those children and youth whose goal is adoption; however, much of the information on preparation is also applicable to children and youth with other permanency goals. The bulletin examines what has previously been considered adequate preparation as well as current practices and those in development to more effectively ensure that children and youth are better prepared for permanent family relationships, including both legal and relational permanency (permanent relationships with caring adults).

Shaping Tomorrow With Today's Minds: Applying Updated Solutions to an Outdated System (PDF - 4,130 KB)
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) (2014)
Provides a collection of papers written by the 2014 class of foster youth interns from the CCAI. The papers examine a variety of child welfare topics, including helping foster youth overcome barriers to employment, improving educational outcomes, fostering resilience through trauma-informed training, and treating children's mental health.

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