Seaside, OR (PRLOG) July 9, 2009 – The National Foster Youth Advisory Council (NFYAC), a group of young leaders from foster care who convene to issue policy recommendations and provide leadership for foster youth leaders across the country, announces it will begin operations under the umbrella of FosterClub, the national network for young people in foster care.
“The Council is dedicated to empowering youth to get involved in decision-making that affects their lives, develop their leadership potential, and advocate for themselves,” said Schylar Canfield, interim President of NFYAC. “NFYAC provides a forum for young people who have experience with the foster care system to share their experiences, provide feedback about what works and what doesn't, and be involved in developing proactive solutions to many of the challenges facing young people making the transition to adulthood.”
Council members have opportunities to address many of the negative perceptions and stereotypes about youth in foster care through training, public speaking, and developing and disseminating information and resources. As part of it’s strategic plan, NFYAC will prioritize is activities to focus on three areas:
• Develop and advocate for a national, youth-driven Public Policy agenda.
The Council has developed numerous position statements on relevant foster care topics such as education, housing, mental health, and permanence. NFYAC strives to Increase visibility of youth perspective through the distribution and use of the position statements and encourages local and state Youth Boards to utilize and build on NFYAC’s work in their own communities. The Council works to secure a “place at the table” for young people from foster care when federal policy issues are discussed.
• Promote a national standard for Youth Engagement.
NFYAC believes that meaningful youth engagement is critical to improving the foster care system. The Council promotes and models positive youth/adult partnerships as a critical component of meaningful youth engagement. The Council advocates for the expansion of opportunities for young people from foster care to participate on youth boards and committees, participate in the development of resources designed for foster youth, and to train and advise child welfare professionals. NFYAC works to build the capacity of the child welfare field for youth engagement.
• Serve as a model and provide technical assistance to local and state Youth Advisory Boards.
NFYAC provides meaningful training and technical assistance to it’s members who, in turn, support youth boards in their own communities. The Council develops and distributes tools designed to assist other grassroots Youth Boards in achieving their missions.
“We are extremely excited to be partnering with NFYAC,” said Celeste Bodner, Executive Director of FosterClub and a supportive adult to the Council over the last ten years. “The Council’s ideals of foster youth engagement, youth/adult partnerships, and consumer representation in child welfare are in alignment with the mission of FosterClub.”
NFYAC was founded in 1999 by the Child Welfare League of America and was funded by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. Participation in NFYAC has been a life-changing experience for many members. As one member said, "NFYAC gave me a chance not only to be involved in a system that had control over my life, but to help other youth in the system as well."
For more information about NFYAC, visit www.fosterclub.com or call 503-717-1552.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOSTER YOUTH ADVISORY COUNCIL: The National Foster Youth Advisory Council (NFYAC) is a diverse national group of current and former foster youth and adult supporters from several states who have had direct experience with the child welfare systems. The council's purpose is to provide a voice for and make a difference in the lives of youth currently in care and support their successful transitions into adulthood.
ABOUT FOSTERCLUB: FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care. FosterClub's mission is to improve life for young people in foster care through a national network that is built for youth and powered by youth. The organization is founded on the principle that young people in and from foster care deserve to be connected, informed, inspired and represented. At the FosterClub Web site, http://www.fosterclub.org, youth ask questions and get answers. They discover other successful former foster youth, share opinions about their foster care experience, get recognition for overcoming obstacles, and connect with supportive adults.