Keeping Systems Accountable and Young People Engaged

Posted May 2, 2016, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

When managed well, foster care can provide young people in custody the same developmental and social experiences as their peers who are not in care. Unfortunately, we most often hear about the limited opportunities and atypical lives of youth in foster care. The federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (SFA) provides new incentives for child welfare agencies to promote healthier and, in some ways, typical experiences for children and youth in foster care.

In a six-part webinar series, the Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative highlights key SFA provisions that hold potential for righting the experiences of young people. Many of the new requirements could make the stories of youth in foster care much like the stories of all youth.

Keeping Systems Accountable in the Implementation of the SFA, the third session in the SFA webinar series, discussed how to leverage the law’s enforcement mechanisms to improve outcomes for kids. These mechanisms not only provide an avenue for remedying violations, but can establish better practices from the start. The more friendly and accessible the enforcement remedies are to young people, the better outcomes they’ll experience.

Future webinars include Maximizing Youth Engagement in Court Reviews and Case Planning Thursday, May 26; Improving Permanency Outcomes for Older Youth Tuesday, July 26; and Model Extension of Care and Re-Entry Policies – Creating a Legal Structure that Promotes Engagement Thursday, Sept. 29.

The webinar series supplements the Jim Casey Initiative’s recently released report, What Young People Need To Thrive: Leveraging the Strengthening Families Act To Promote Normalcy, which highlights recommendations from young people in foster care.