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Capacity Building

CENTER FOR STATES

Authentic Youth Engagement Video Series

In these audio stories, youth describe how their voices were heard while in foster care. Each story is anchored by a youth’s perspective and is partnered with another perspective—a caseworker, leader, attorney, or peer mentor. 

In these audio stories, youth describe how their voices were heard while in foster care. Each story is anchored by a youth’s perspective and is partnered with another perspective—a caseworker, leader, attorney, or peer mentor. Adolescence is a time of massive changes that shape the trajectory of adult lives. The youth explain how engagement at the practice, peer, and system levels gave them the support and empowerment they needed during this critical developmental period. Combine with the Menu for Youth Engagement guide and The Secret Sauce: A Recipe for Authentic, Honest, and Trusting Relationships With Youth tip sheet and discussion questions to build a common understanding amongst staff and stakeholders about how to engage, empower, and use youth voice in all aspects of child welfare to drive case planning and system improvement.

Andrea and Medina’s Story

Reveals the elements of a trusting relationship between a youth and her attorney. The attorney gained the youth’s trust through modeling consistency and reliability. Their relationship developed into a lasting, supportive friendship that helped the youth learn to advocate for herself and her child.

Ronnie and Jackie’s Story

Shows how nonjudgmental, active listening and relatability build rapport and trust. Opportunities to laugh and talk about real-life situations helped a youth and his attorney develop a mutually rewarding relationship.

Diana and Tishana’s Story

Tells the story of the relationship, initially forged over a shared meal, between a youth and her CASA worker. The CASA worker’s advocacy for concrete supports to meet the youth’s needs helped grow the trust in their relationship.

Stefani and Kim’s Story

Demonstrates how showing up and listening are foundational to developing a nourishing relationship with youth. A young woman describes the constant support she and her family received from a social worker as she evolved from a youth into a teen mom and an advocate.

Corey and Kristopher’s Story

Addresses the importance of transparency, honesty, and respect in building mutual trust. A case manager’s commitment to being genuine and transparent helped a youth overcome years of distrust stemming from earlier traumatic experiences in foster care.

Paulette and Luz’s Story

Tells the story of the relationship between a youth in foster care and a BraveLife peer navigator. Both talk about the personal sharing and mutual trust that have forged a connection that will last a lifetime.

Sarah and Nic’s Story

Underscores the importance of consistency and encouragement in trusting relationships. A Fostering Success peer mentor gave impactful advice to the youth she mentored: Stop listening to the people who don’t believe in you.

Debra, Kaylah, and Brittany’s Story

Highlights the advocacy work of state and regional youth leadership councils. Two paid regional and state youth specialists and the Texas Director for Transitional Living Services describe how including youth voice by providing them a “seat at the table” at the state capital enhances the child welfare system. All three discuss the rewards and personal impact of their work.

Arika and Micaela’s Story

Reveals how advocating for youth makes a difference in system change and in the advocates’ own lives. The Director of Policy and Advocacy at NMCAN and a youth advocate talk about their shared experience in testifying as expert witnesses for state legislative committees and how it created a strong bond between them.

Connect With Us

Learn how we can help your agency build the capacity to thrive.

Email: capacityinfo@icfi.com 
Phone: 1.844.222.0272
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Visit the Center for States' Contact Us webpage for more information.