A Critical Analysis of Foster Youth Advisory Boards in the United States

Brad Forenza, Robin G. Happonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: The enactment of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act brought welcome attention to young people aging out of foster care, and sought to include them in both case planning and policy dialog. Foster Youth Advisory Boards help to promote such inclusion, though the implementation of those boards has not been formally analyzed. Objective: This critical analysis of foster youth advisory boards in the United States answers the following questions: (1) What/where are each of the Youth Advisory Boards in the United States? (2) How is each board implemented? (3) How would a young person aging out of care (or a practitioner working with this population) access its local board? Methods: A content analysis of public child welfare agency programs was conducted to identify youth advisory boards in each of the United States and the District of Columbia to identify implementing agencies and contact information. Results: While every state and Washington, D.C. had a version of Youth Advisory Board, some boards were implemented exclusively through public child welfare agencies and others through public/nonprofit partnerships. Contact information for each of the 51 boards was identified and is displayed. Conclusions: Youth Advisory Boards have proliferated throughout the United States since the enactment of Chafee programming. They can be useful, pro-social mediums to include foster youth in case planning and policy dialog, while simultaneously promoting a sense of leadership, mentorship, and ecological permanence. Implications for policy, practice, and research are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Aging out
  • Child welfare
  • Foster care
  • Youth advisory boards


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