Family-centered practice focuses on the healthy growth and development of children and youth within a family context. Family-centered practice is consistent with the approach known as positive youth development, which views all youth as having inherent strengths and potential and focuses on promoting a youth's development rather than identifying and fixing his or her problems. This section provides youth with opportunities for inclusion and participation in decisions that affect their lives and supports meaningful involvement.
Authentic Youth Engagement
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Provides resources on authentic youth engagement and emerging best practices, including a factsheet on core values and principles for youth engagement developed at the National Summit on Authentic Youth Engagement.
Client Voices: Youth, Parent, and Relative Perspectives on Family Finding (PDF- 340 KB)
Bringewatt, Allen, & Williams (2013)
United States Children's Bureau, & Stuart Foundation
Describes a model used by child welfare practitioners in their work to identify and include family members and close adults in the family finding process for children in the adoption and foster care systems. Client perspectives and opinions to improve the family finding process are also included.
Engaging Youth: Extending Foster Care Policy Toolkit: Paper 2 of 5 (PDF - 447 KB)
National Conference of State Legislatures (2015)
Explains the importance of providing foster youth with the opportunity to take on decision-making roles. The toolkit highlights State initiatives that give youth a voice in court, the importance of engaging young people in designing extended foster care services, youth advisory boards in which current and former foster youth meet to discuss and develop strategies for improving foster care, youth involvement in case and transition planning, and a foster children’s bill of rights designed to inform foster children of their rights within the child welfare system.
From Participation to Empowerment: Including Feedback From Children in Evaluating and Improving Services (PDF - 2,060 KB)
Save the Children (2016)
Describes the purpose and benefit of involving children and youth in evaluating and improving existing child welfare practices. The report contains a set of practical tools that can be used to increase participation and shares lessons learned and best practices.
Perspectives on Youth Engagement [Webinar]
Child Welfare Capacity Building Collaborative (2016)
Provides information on how to engage youth and young adults in child welfare practice and how to use certain strategies to support youth engagement. The webinar includes presentations on the importance of working across multiple States and systems.
Promoting Youth Engagement in Residential Settings: Suggestions from Youth With Lived Experience (PDF - 989 KB)
Building Bridges Initiative (2012)
Describes youths' insights regarding how residential providers can more effectively engage them as they develop skills necessary for successful family and community reintegration.
Youth Engagement Blueprint Series: Viewing Young People as Organizational Assets (PDF - 215 KB)
Capacity Building Center for States (2017)
Explains the importance of sustained involvement of young people currently and formerly in foster care in meaningful organizational activity. This factsheet offers practical guidance to organizations for implementing a youth engagement program or improving an existing one.
Youth-Guided Youth Engagement: Participatory Action Research (PAR) With High-Risk, Marginalized Youth (PDF - 168 KB)
Iwasaki, Springett, Dashora, McLaughlin, McHugh, & Youth 4 YEG Team (2014)
Child and Youth Services, 35(4)
Presents a framework of youth engagement for high-risk populations that considers the prevalence of disconnect and distrust these youth often experience within their social environments/systems.