Why Involve Youth?
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), its partners, and the states have involved some youth and young adults in technical assistance meetings and in the development of the implementation of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) in a number of ways. While youth had been involved in the past, the 2011 NYTD Technical Assistance Meeting was the first time that an emphasis was placed on including youth representatives on each state team. Involving youth transitioning out of the foster care system provided valuable data collection input. The voice of youth and young adults who had experienced the foster care system supplied useful feedback on the types of services and supports youth transitioning from the foster care system need to be successful.
ACF leaders and their partners also hoped that involving youth in the meeting would help generate enthusiasm about NYTD, as youth can be key advocates for the effort and are essential for the success of the ongoing data collection. Active and interested youth and young adults are important to the mission of effecting positive change in foster youth services and outcomes.
While the benefits of youth involvement for ACF and the NYTD team are numerous, youth attendees also took away substantial benefits from the meeting. Participation in the NYTD Technical Assistance Meeting supports youth development by supplying opportunities for young people to network, attend a federal meeting, and present alongside their federal counterparts. Additionally, the meeting provided youth with the opportunity to voice comments and concerns unique to their states. States, in turn, now have access to youth and young adults who not only represent the foster care system, but who have engaged in federal discussions of data on youth in transition. Learn more about how the NYTD Technical Assistance Meeting provided opportunities for young people to develop skills.