May 2012Vol. 13 No. 4Services for and by Youth in Care
A community services center for transitioning youth—operated by and for youth in foster care—is celebrating its third anniversary with a new location.
Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support (VOICES) centers are the first-of-their-kind community centers for emancipating youth. The centers connect youth with more than 40 community organizations and county agencies offering critical services to help them transition to independent living, including housing, employment, education, and other wellness services.
VOICES was established in Napa, CA, in 2004 as a result of a task force created by On the Move, a nonprofit community organization. In 2009, the second VOICES location opened in Sonoma County, CA. The Sonoma County VOICES opened its new location and celebrated with an open house on April 11, 2012, offering the public a chance to tour the facility and see performances by VOICES youth.
Both centers provide transitioning youth with the opportunity to get involved in their transition planning, develop a personalized emancipation plan, and connect with other youth with foster care experience. While VOICES is composed of partnerships with a variety of organizations and agencies, the heart of the program is the youth who work in partnership with adult coaches.
In June 2012, VOICES—with LIFT Teens, Youth Engagement Solutions, and International Foster Care Organization—will host the 2012 International Summit of Youth in Care at the University of Maryland. The summit will bring together youth leaders to discuss current practices and policies for teens transitioning from care.
More information about VOICES and the International Summit of Youth in Care is available on the VOICES website: