Family-centered practice focuses on the healthy growth and development of children and youth within a family context. Family-centered practice is consistent with the approach known as positive youth development, which views all youth as having inherent strengths and potential and focuses on promoting a youth's development rather than identifying and fixing his or her problems. This begins by providing youth with opportunities for full participation in decisions that affect their lives and supports that facilitate meaningful involvement.
The following resources address engaging children and youth involved with child welfare and include State and local examples.
2007 CFSR ToolKit for Youth Involvement: Engaging Youth in the Child and Family Services Review (PDF - 3,119 KB)
National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement & National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development (2007)
Offers practical strategies for collaborating with youth in the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR).
Sustaining Youth Engagement Initiatives: Challenges and Opportunities (PDF - 1,813 KB)
Gaughen, Flynn-Khan, & Hayes (2009)
Describes and provides examples of eight program elements to sustain youth engagement: vision, results orientation, strategic financing orientation, broad-based community support, key champions, adaptability to changing conditions, strong internal systems, and a sustainability plan.
|Series Title||Bulletins for Professionals|
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Download (PDF - 488KB)
The Youth Involvement Checklist (PDF - 215 KB)
Thrive Initiative (2009)
Discusses what should be happening at each stage of the process as programs move from being youth guided, to youth directed, to youth driven at three levels: the individual, community, and policy levels.
Courts Consulting With Children: Insuring Meaningful Participation of Children in Juvenile Court Permanency Hearings (PDF - 67 KB)
Juvenile Court Improvement Program, Oregon Judicial Department (2010)
Summarizes a meeting of court professionals and related stakeholders to identify considerations and priorities related to the development of best practices for courts as they implement a Federal mandate to consult with children in permanency hearings.
Evaluation of the Massachusetts Adolescent Outreach Program for Youths in Intensive Foster Care: Final Report (PDF - 682 KB)
Courtney, Zinn, Johnson, & Malm (2011)
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families
Presents findings from the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs. The report focuses on impact findings from a program that paired youth with an outreach worker who helped them prepare to live independently and achieve their permanency goals as they exit foster care.
HEY Guide: Youth Empowerment: A Step-by-Step Guide for Developing a Youth Board (PDF - 1,403 KB)
Honoring Emancipated Youth (HEY) Program, United Way of the Bay Area (California) (2009)
Offers a toolkit on how to best support the growth and empowerment of youth, as well as the staff who work with them, while preparing the entire agency culture for youth incorporation and leadership.
Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT): An Innovative Approach to Systems Improvement (PDF - 450 KB)
Wu, Burns, Zanghi, & Walters (2010)
Discusses an approach being implemented in Maine to improve outcomes for older youth in care by working in partnership with other youth to bring together young people who are involved with the child welfare system and create opportunities for them to learn and practice leadership and advocacy skills.
Youth Development Council Guiding Document (PDF - 605 KB)
Division of Child Behavioral Health Services, New Jersey Department of Children and Families (2009)
Presents the department's plan to ensure youth are decision-makers in their own care and are empowered as self-advocates and supported as community advocates with a distinct voice. The guiding document outlines specific values and principles for engaging youth and provides core concepts essential to any type of youth development.
Youth Empowerment and Participation in Mental Health Care (PDF - 5,100 KB)
Walker, Gowen, & Aue
Focal Point, 23(2), 2009
Highlights a number of successful and innovative efforts in Oregon to promote youth voice and youth empowerment, including contributions from youth who are directly involved in the featured program.