Youth served by the child welfare system have unique needs as they navigate adolescence, grow into their identities, and approach adulthood. Youth must be respected as experts on themselves and treated as equal partners throughout case planning, permanency planning, and other child welfare activities.
Connection to family and other trusted adults is crucial during adolescence. Youth need support forming and maintaining these relationships while in foster care to support the development of authentic connections that last long into adulthood. It is also important that they have support in maintaining connections to their cultures and communities. This social and community support can serve as a protective factor to mitigate the trauma of child welfare involvement.
Regardless of a young person’s individual journey to permanency, all youth need concrete, holistic supports as they grow up. However, youth may receive disparate services depending on age, racial and cultural background, and other factors. Equitable access to services and programs—including life skills classes, education and employment assistance, financial aid, and peer and mentor support—is essential for youth to thrive.
Explore this page to learn about youth engagement, development, outcomes, and more.
Adjust the filters to refine your list of resources.
Can’t find what you need in the filtered results? Try searching our Library catalog to access a large selection of peer-reviewed journal articles, evaluation reports, Children’s Bureau grant materials, research studies, and more.
Engaging and Involving Youth and Young Adults
It is essential to meaningfully engage and involve youth and young adults in decision-making and casework practice. Youth involved with the child welfare system are experts on their situations and should be treated as such.
Expectant and Parenting Youth in Child Welfare
Expectant and parenting youth in foster care have unique needs and benefit from equitable access to services, strong social networks, and unbiased support from child welfare professionals.
Youth Mental Health
It is important for the child welfare system to prioritize well-being and support the mental health of youth with individualized, equitable, culturally relevant, and easily accessible mental health services or supports.
Social Media: Tips for Youth in Foster Care
Find a factsheet for youth in foster care that describes advantages and challenges they may encounter when using social media platforms. The factsheet also reviews issues that should be considered and tips for handling issues safely and responsibly.
Prioritizing Youth Voice: The Importance of Authentic Youth Engagement in Case Planning
Learn about the importance of youth engagement and explore key concepts and strategies for caseworkers to apply to their practice while promoting increased safety, well-being, healthy development, and improved outcomes for young people.
Using Your Voice: A Guide for Youth on Participating in Case Planning
Find a guide that helps youth in foster care speak up about their wants, needs, concerns, questions, goals, and ambitions. It also covers how to engage with the child welfare system at the individual case level and through greater advocacy efforts.
Belonging Matters - Helping Youth Explore Permanency
Find information for child welfare and adoption professionals to help youth in foster care explore permanency options and the value of secure, permanent connections based on interviews with young people who were adopted or aged out of foster care.
Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth: A Guide for Foster Parents
Learn about LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other diverse identities and expressions, including Two-Spirit) youth in foster care, unique risks they face, and the role that foster parents can play in reducing those risks.
Improving Services for Expectant and Parenting Youth in Care
Explore strategies for caseworkers, agencies, and other youth-serving professionals to better support expectant and parenting youth and their families including case-level and systemwide strategies that may contribute to overall improved outcomes.