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, which include State and local examples, provide information about effective youth advisory boards.
Engaging Youth in NYTD (PDF - 368 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2016)
Provides information on effectively integrating youth voice and creating a successful youth engagement plan. This resource encourages working with youth councils and partnering with youth from different placement types to include different perspectives, which benefits the youth, adults, and State or system involved.
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)
Human Services Collaborative
Examines youth engagement strategies and best practices to achieve youth engagement, including participation on boards, committees, and workgroups.
Missouri State Youth Advisory Board
Missouri Department of Social Services
Presents information on a youth advisory board in Missouri made up of youth with experience in the foster care or child welfare systems who offer input on the State's out-of-home care programs and services.
The Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board
University of Pittsburgh
Describes Pennsylvania’s Youth Advisory Board, which is comprised of 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
Describes the Youth Advisory Board for Children’s Home + Aid’s Metropolitan Region, which 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
Maryland Department of Human Services
Discusses a youth advisory board in Maryland that brings together youth in foster care and independent living to guide Baltimore City Social Services on how to improve foster care.
Youth Advisory Board
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
Describes a youth advisory board in New York State that works to improve the lives of youth in out-of-home care and influence positive changes in the foster care system. The board's 15 members provide feedback on their experiences in the foster care system and help shape policies and initiatives.
Youth Advisory Board: FORWARD
Vermont Department for Children and Families
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.