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May 2023Vol. 24, No. 4QIC-EY Report Summarizes Caseworkers' Experiences With Youth Engagement

A recent report from the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY) analyzes child welfare professionals’ experiences with engaging youth. The report features interviews with 15 child welfare professionals in 9 states and summarizes and analyzes the interviewees responses to six guiding research questions:

  • How are youth engaged in key activities while they are involved with the child welfare system?
  • Do engagement approaches vary based on the child’s age, race, cultural background, and/or LGBTQ identity?
  • What are the main barriers to engaging youth in permanency planning?
  • What are the perceived benefits of engaging youth in permanency planning?
  • What recommended changes in policy and practice could enhance youth engagement?
  • What would workforce professionals like to see included in a youth engagement training?

An analysis of the interviews indicates that youth’s level of engagement varied by age, with teens and older youth often granted more rights. The most common form of youth engagement in case planning was including youth in permanency team meetings. Youth were also engaged in relational permanency efforts to identify supportive family and kin connections. Challenges to youth engagement included overall lack of time and resources as well as limited guidance for how to promote and partner with youth in achieving cultural permanency.

The report features sections on each of the following themes:

  • Youth engagement in practice
  • Benefits of youth engagement
  • Barriers to youth engagement
  • Recommendations to promote youth engagement
  • Suggestions for staff training
  • Supervision and coaching

The full report, Qualitative Analysis of Workforce Expert Interviews, is available on the QIC-EY website.