Maintaining open lines of communication and engaging youth in their case planning provides them with the opportunity to be directly involved in decisions that affect and concern their lives. Research suggests that youth participation in the decision-making process can be an effective approach in promoting self-esteem, a greater sense of control, and the acquisition of new skills. The following resources highlight the benefits of youth participation throughout the case and transition planning processes, including state and local examples.
Engaging Young People in their Transition Planning (PDF - 2,212 KB)
The National Association of Social Workers (2011)
Highlights key elements of youth engagement in case planning,
decision-making, and transition planning with specific examples of how case managers can build a stronger connection with youth and their families.
Quality Case Planning With Young Adults in Extended Foster Care
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2014)
Identifies key elements to quality child welfare case planning for young adults by rethinking traditional approaches, starting early, and empowering youth to take the planning lead. The issue brief is a product of Success Beyond 18, a national campaign aimed at forging a better path for young people who are transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
Strategies in Child Welfare: Four Approaches to Family Team Meetings (PDF - 2,181 KB)
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2013)
Provides an overview of the concept of family team meetings and their importance in family engagement strategies, and compares four family team meeting models that are supported by preliminary research: family group decision-making, family team conferencing, permanency teaming, and team decision-making meetings. Permanency Teaming is a core component of the Lifelong Families model, which was developed specifically to facilitate permanence for older youth with high-end mental health and behavioral needs in foster care.
Youth Conferencing: Implementation Experiences and Future Directions (PDF - 689 KB)
Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect
Provides information about youth conferencing and how it can help youth aging out of foster care forge or renew effective and enduring connections with caring adults; the youth conferencing process; family involvement in a youth led process; and phases of the conferencing process. Youth conferencing models are presented and challenges and opportunities inherent in youth conferencing are also explored.
Involving Foster Care Youth in Planning for Their Transition: Does It Make a Difference? (PDF - 188 KB)
Youth Policy Institute of Iowa (2014)
Presents the findings of a survey of 362 youth (ages 18–21) who were asked questions related to their involvement in transition planning and self-concept. The study also presents policy implications to improve engagement.
Empowering Foster Children Age 14 & Older in the Development of Their Own Case Plan & Transition Planning for a Successful Adulthood (PDF - 264 KB)
Advocates for Children and Youth (2015)
Provides an overview of the requirements of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act in Maryland, which requires more involvement of youth in case planning. The document also includes promising practices in other States.