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 section provides youth with opportunities for inclusion and participation in decisions that affect their lives and supports meaningful involvement.
Authentic Youth Engagement
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.
Eight Successful Youth Engagement Approaches
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2019)
Presents eight youth engagement approaches that can be used to engage youth, including youth governance, youth boards, youth voice, leadership programs, advocacy, service, and youth organizing.
Engaging Youth: Extending Foster Care Policy Toolkit: Paper 2 of 5 (PDF - 447 KB)
National Conference of State Legislatures (2015)
Explains the importance of providing youth in foster care with the opportunity to take on decision-making roles. The toolkit highlights State initiatives that give youth a voice in court, the importance of engaging young people in designing extended foster care services, youth advisory boards in which current and former foster youth meet to discuss and develop strategies for improving foster care, youth involvement in case and transition planning, and a foster children’s bill of rights designed to inform foster children of their rights within the child welfare system.
Engaging Youth in NYTD (PDF - 368 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2016)
Provides information on effectively integrating youth voice into a State’s efforts to collect and use National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) data, including strategies for recruiting and engaging youth as partners.
Episode 27: The Power of the Parents’ Voice [Podcast]
Child Welfare Information Gateway (2018)
Provides direction and guidance to help communicate the importance and impact of the parent’s voice when it comes to implementing services and creating policies in order to support the child welfare system in creating a family-centered approach.
From Participation to Empowerment: Including Feedback From Children in Evaluating and Improving Services (PDF - 2,060 KB)
Save the Children (2016)
Describes the purpose and benefit of involving children and youth in evaluating and improving existing child welfare practices. The report contains a set of practical tools that can be used to increase participation and shares lessons learned and best practices.
How Can We Prioritize Constituent Voice and Choice?
Casey Family Programs (2019)
Examines the importance of constituent voice, including youth voice for continuous improvement in child welfare. The website reviews how other systems have approached constituent voice and choice and provides examples of constituent involvement in child welfare systems.
Perspectives on Youth Engagement [Webinar]
Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative (2016)
Provides information on how to engage youth and young adults in child welfare practice and how to use certain strategies to support youth engagement. The webinar includes presentations on the importance of working across multiple States and systems.
Transformational Relationships for Youth Success (PDF - 6,636 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2017)
Presents findings from a study on transformational relationships between youth and workers across a variety of settings. The report includes feedback from more than 80 interviews with youth, workers, and organizational leaders, as well as recommendations for service providers and public systems.
Viewing Young People as Organizational Assets (PDF - 200 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Explains the importance of sustained involvement of young people currently and formerly in foster care in meaningful organizational activities. This factsheet, part of the Youth Engagement Blueprint series, examines the benefits to organizations and young people currently and formerly in foster care of viewing young people’s knowledge, insights, and lived experiences as assets to an organization.
What Is Youth Engagement, Really?
Act for Youth (2019)
Describes youth engagement, why it is important, and the benefits of engaging youth. The website also lists several resources on strengthening communities through youth engagement, youth as evaluators, youth involvement in engagement assessments, and other related topics.
Youth Engagement Blueprint Series: Implementing Flexible and Innovative Programs and Practices (PDF - 241 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Discusses the characteristics of flexible and innovative programs and practices for youth engagement, highlights examples of such programs in States, and offers practical guidance for building organizational capacity for implementing such programs.
Youth Engagement Toolkit
Texas Network of Youth Services (2019)
Presents a toolkit on, links to, and resources about youth engagement as well as a roadmap to youth engagement.
Youth Support Partners
Allegheny County (2019)
Educates and empowers youth about their role in planning for their future and encourages youth voice during every phase of service development.