Youth who have experienced foster care have valuable knowledge about child welfare. Youth advisory boards and councils, which are generally operated under the auspices of the State or local agency, engage young people currently or formerly in out-of-home care in examining practices and policies that affect the lives of children and youth in care. The boards play a unique role in advocating for the improvement of services for youth in foster care. The following resources provide information about and examples of effective youth advisory boards, including State and local examples.
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.
National Foster Youth Advisory Council (PDF - 251 KB)
Child Welfare League of America
Comprising youth currently or formerly in foster care, the council informs the field about the strengths and needs of youth in the foster care system and develops strategic alliances to improve the system of supports and services in the areas of positive youth development, independent living, transition supports, and youth involvement.
Realizing the Power of Youth and Young Adult Voice Through Youth Leadership Boards
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2014)
Explores the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative’s experience in developing and implementing youth leadership boards. The issue brief includes the perspectives of young people in foster care and the adults engaged with them.
A Study of Best Practices in Youth Engagement and Leadership Development (PDF - 469 KB)
Endowment for Health
Offers an examination of youth engagement strategies and best practices to achieve youth engagement, including a section on participation on boards, committees, and workgroups.
Oregon Foster Youth Connection
Seeks to improve the foster care system in the State of Oregon through advocacy, activism, and leadership.
The Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board
University of Pittsburgh
Describes Pennsylvania’s Independent Living Youth Advisory Board, which comprises youth ages 16–21 who are currently or formerly in substitute care. The board works to educate, advocate, and form partnerships to create positive change in the substitute care system.
Very Outstanding Individual Citizens Empowering the State
Children's Home and Aid Society of Illinois (2019)
Works to improve foster care through input from youth voices, empowers youth, advocates for the needs of youth in out-of-home care, and helps youth develop skills to improve their lives.
Youth Advisory Board: FORWARD
Vermont Department for Children and Families (2019)
Presents information on FORWARD, a youth advisory board in Vermont that gives youth in foster care the opportunity to have a voice and make meaningful changes in State policy and practices.
Youth in Progress
Describes Youth in Progress, a New York State program that empowers youth in foster care (ages 14–21) to advocate for greater awareness of the needs of youth in care and improved services for youth transitioning out of foster care.
Youth Leadership Advisory Team
Describes a coalition of foster care and adult partners who are working to improve outcomes for all youth in foster care by creating opportunities and promoting youth engagement in decisions about their lives.