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May 2023Vol. 24, No. 4Division X Resource Provides Information and Implementation Strategies for Youth Engagement and Empowerment

A tool developed as part of the Division X Technical Assistance contract provides resources, checklists, and strategies related to youth engagement and empowerment. The 24-page publication, titled A Tool for Youth Engagement and Empowerment, is designed for child welfare agencies, programs, and organizations, as well as youth and young adults who are experiencing or formerly experienced the child welfare system. Strategies offered throughout the publication were informed by lived experts who have experienced the child welfare system firsthand.  

The resource details different elements on the “continuum of youth and young adult engagement and empowerment,” including case-level engagement, peer support within agencies, involvement in research and evaluation, and participation in advocacy and decision-making. It also provides implementation strategies to help agencies partner with young people on a variety of activities, including developing authentic engagement within agencies, prioritizing effective communication, building a culture of accountability, funding engagement and empowerment programs, and developing partnerships for state and local change initiatives.

The publication also includes links to other resources that may be helpful for professionals and youth, including a full appendix of youth engagement toolkits and assessment resources. A second appendix features interactive checklists for both child welfare agencies and youth and young adults to assess their experiences with youth engagement. For example, the checklists for professionals include the following questions: “Have you discussed as an agency why it is important to incorporate youth voice?” and “Have you invited young people to participate in any decision-making processes around budgeting and funding?” And the checklists for youth include the following questions: “Have you explored participating on and leading a change implementation team?” and “Have you considered whether you feel safe discussing youth challenges or concerns with team members or leads?”

Developed with the help of those with lived experience in the child welfare system, the publication is one of many resources developed as part of the Division X Technical Assistance contract. More information about these Division X resources is available on the Capacity Building Center for States website.