In order to understand how youth in foster care think and perceive their surroundings, it is necessary for professionals to listen to input and recommendations from current and former youth in foster care. Youth offer a unique first-hand perspective on all facets of foster care. The following resources provide a broad range of materials that incorporate the perspectives of youth with lived experience to inform best practices for engaging and involving youth to improve the foster care system.
Authentic Voices Video Series: Sharing Our Perspective
Capacity Building Center for States
Presents a collection of videos from children, youth formerly in foster care, adoptive and foster parents, and child welfare professionals on their experiences with the foster care system. The stories provide insight on building identity, developing connections, and establishing normalcy for youth in care.
The Cuyahoga Youth Count: A Report on LGBTQ+ Youth Experience in Foster Care
University of Maryland School of Social Work (2021)
Presents the findings of a study focused on assessing the frequency of youth identifying as having diverse SOGI in Cuyahoga County, CA and how their experience with the foster care system could have affected their permanency, stability and well-being outcomes.
Digital Stories: Voices From Foster Care Youth
Highlights stories from youth who have been impacted by the child welfare system, focusing on well-being and positive youth development and using computer-based tools.
Former Foster Youth Share Their Stories [Video]
Casey Family Programs (2016)
Features a 6-minute video that shows youth telling stories about their experiences in foster care and how society perceives them.
Foster Care Alumni of America
Describes Foster Care Alumni of America, a group that connects the foster care alumni community and works to transform policy and practice, ensuring opportunity for people in and from foster care. The website includes contact information for multiple state chapters of the group.
Foster Youth are Activists, Poets, Entrepreneurs, Artists, Musicians, Travelers and Successful Students
Foster Care to Success
Includes stories, profiles, and poetry written by children and youth in foster care or those who have transitioned or “aged out” of foster care.
National Foster Youth Institute
Presents personal blogs written by current and former foster youth discussing their experiences with foster care.
Youth Leadership Advisory Team & Youth Communication
Offers a national magazine written by and for young people in foster care. Through personal narratives and reported stories, the teen staff provide an inside look at life in the child welfare system that other teens in care can connect with.
Youth Engaged 4 Change
Provides youth-focused resources and opportunities to inspire and empower youth to make a difference in their lives by improving their knowledge and leadership skills.
Highlights the perspectives and stories from youth around the country who have experienced foster care.
Kids Matter Inc. (2016)
Includes stories of teens who have left foster care and talk about their experiences during and after living in foster care.