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May 2024Vol. 25, No. 4The Role of Leadership in Youth Engagement: A Lesson Learned From the QIC-EY Project

In 2023, the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY) established its Lessons Learned series to share key insights related to engaging children and youth in child welfare, especially in relation to permanency decisions, through knowledge gained from the QIC-EY project.

The second lesson in the series—leaders set the tone for building relationships that drive authentic engagement of children and youth—acknowledges the important role leaders can play in building and nurturing relationships within organizations that, in turn, enable and empower child welfare staff to engage youth in the decisions that affect their lives.

Supporting insights are provided, including an episode from the QIC-EY Podcast, which features an on-topic conversation with Addie D. Williams, former president and chief executive officer of Spaulding for Children. The lesson also encourages child welfare leadership to consider the following questions as they work to implement this lesson and drive the active and intentional partnership with youth:

  • As you lead staff members who engage directly with children and youth, are you modeling and exhibiting characteristics that encourage authentic engagement?
  • Do the staff whom you lead feel valued, included, and part of the decision-making process?
  • As you and the teams that you lead are working to provide safety, permanence, and well-being for children and youth, how are you supporting your staff members by valuing those same priorities for them?
  • Are your staff members equipped with the skills, resources, and tools they need to find ways to engage authentically with children and youth?

To learn more about the second lesson learned, including how leaders can address possible barriers to engagement, visit the QIC-EY website.

Related item: Other lessons from the QIC-EY’s Lessons Learned series are featured in the May 2023, September 2023, and December/January 2024 issues of CBX.