State Survey

As part of the overall Environmental Scan, in December of 2021, the QIC-EY surveyed states to gain an understanding of how child and youth engagement is supported by child welfare systems across the nation. The contents of this 7-page document represent an overview of the responses from 24 states with information that will help to inform the work of the QIC-EY. Twenty-four states participated in the survey.

If you and your colleagues want to continue to improve engagement with children and youth in decisions that impact their lives, specifically in finding permanency, here are three things from the QIC-EY State Survey that you’ll want to know more about:

Child and Youth Engagement is Happening

The good news is, among respondent states, well over half indicate that they have programs or interventions that support engagement. 88%, or 21 out of 24, stated that they have specific programs and/or interventions that support this goal. Moreover, all 24 states that responded have youth advisory boards composed of youth who were in foster care. Among other stated purposes, survey respondents identified key purposes of these boards as policy and procedure review and to solicit and share youth feedback, among other important goals.

Youth Are Involved in Transition Planning 

Many states, 83%, involved youth in decision making processes such as case and transition planning. 79% of states indicate that youth participate in youth centered meetings which are focused on permanency planning goals. Youth involvement in all levels of decision making was noticeably lower, with only 5% of states reporting youth involvement at all levels.

Important Barriers Identified

States identified critical barriers to better engaging with children and  youth in permanency, all of which can and should be the focus of timely and practical solutions. The main barriers identified are the lack of time most caseworkers have for this more nuanced work, a need for more skills building for caseworkers in shared decision making with children and youth, and high caseworker turnover.

This survey shows that many states are doing incredibly good work in the area of child and youth engagement in permanency planning. Moreover, states involved in this survey highly valued child and youth engagement. With this in mind and with the work the QIC-EY aims to do to elevate engagement of children and youth across the field, we can work to eliminate barriers to empowerment-based systems with children and youth collaborating in all decisions that affect their lives.

Here are three things you can do with this State Survey:

  1. Check to see if your state responded.
  2. Review the survey results and think about how the specific child and youth engagement work your organization or system is doing compares with the information analyzed from the 24 responding states. 
  3. Ask yourself and your colleagues which question asked in the survey is the most important and reflect on how you are addressing the issue raised.

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