, , , , , ,

FREE Webinar: Uplifting Youth Voice in Dependency Court, March 27, 10:00 AM

When: March 27, 2018

Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am EST

To Register: Please email Rachael Ickes at cwtpreg@pitt.edu with your name, email address, and agency name.

Youth Fostering Change, a project at Juvenile Law Center, offers youth who are currently or formerly involved in the child welfare system the opportunity to evaluate the system and implement a campaign for reform. Each year, Youth Fostering Change youth advocates select a reform issue, develop a strategy to address it, and implement their project by bringing it to local, state, or federal stakeholders. Last year, Youth Fostering Change began to focus their campaign efforts on empowering youth in dependency court, specifically by removing barriers to their attendance and active participation.

Background: Pennsylvania law requires all youth in foster care to attend regular court hearings, but many of our youth advocates identified having very different experiences in court. Youth Fostering Change advocates have reflected on how not attending or participating in their own hearings caused major disruptions in their housing and education, and how confusing and intimidating court hearings were, in the rare event they were encouraged to go. As a result, major decisions were made about young people’s lives without either their presence or input.

Presenters: Youth Fostering Change advocates along with Marcía Hopkins, MSW, Youth Advocacy Program Manager

Youth Fostering Change Webinar Highlights

  1. Youth Fostering Changes’ campaign efforts in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania to improve dependency court experience for youth in care.
  2. The importance of having youth present in court and the positive effects of having youth actively participating in court; including providing examples of what counties can do to better engage youth in dependency court.
  3. Will share information gathered from their “Youth Court Participation Survey.” The survey was administered at the Achieving Independence Center in Philadelphia and had 67 youth participants.
  4. Recommendations and strategies to increase court attendance and meaningfully engage youth in court, including; reviewing their court tools for preparing youth for court; the “Youth Fostering Change Court Prep Form” and the “Youth Empowerment Card.”