Ensuring that children and youth in care are engaged authentically, particularly in relation to permanency, requires a paradigm shift in how the child welfare system understands them and views their involvement in decision-making. Children and youth need to be seen as competent, knowledgeable experts who are partners in decisions about their lives, especially those related to legal, cultural and relational permanency.
To accomplish its goals, the Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency (QIC-EY) will partner with six to eight pilot sites (states, counties, tribal nations and territories). These sites will be selected in June 2022. They will receive support and resources from the QIC to implement a youth engagement model, a training and coaching model for the child welfare workforce and a training on youth engagement for courts. They also will receive QIC support and resources to make systemic changes in how they authentically engage children and youth. The information gained through evaluation of the work being done in the pilot sites will help to transform how children and youth are engaged authentically in child welfare systems throughout the nation.
Pilot sites will advance the authentic engagement of children and youth by working in partnership with the QIC-EY over the next four years to:
- identify, implement and evaluate an authentic, youth engagement program model;
- implement a child welfare training and coaching curriculum;
- identify and implement systemic changes, and
- partner with the courts.