Youth Leadership and Empowerment


Youth LeadershipGOALL and SC NYTD Youth Voice—SCDSS State Youth Advisory Boards What makes membership on a state youth advisory board meaningful for youth in foster care? Youth advisory board members have an opportunity to advocate for themselves and other youth by using their experiences and voices to advise the Department of Social Services on policies and programs that directly impact their lives. Their leadership training assists in their development of leadership and advocacy skills that are applied personally and within a group setting.

The youth on the boards are in or were formerly in foster care and have demonstrated leadership skills. Board members are 16-23 years of age. Faculty, staff members, and graduate students at the Center for Child and Family Studies are committed to building the capacity of these youth leaders. Advisory board members receive encouragement and support as they develop youth derived curricula and resources, suggest recommendations for the enhancement of child welfare policy and programming, and inspire other youth in foster care.


GOALL (Go Out and Learn Life)

  • provides youth perspectives on experiences in foster care
  • identifies needed programs and services
  • informs DSS on policy and programming
  • presents at state and national conferences

SC NYTD Youth Voice

  • raises awareness about the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)survey of youth in, and formerly in, foster care
  • disseminates findings from research studies on the experiences of older youth in, and formerly in, foster care
  • provides advice and feedback on independent living services offered to youth
  • creates change in policy and practice

I’ve grown in my ability to recognize a need and the appropriate steps to find a solution, the core purpose of being a leader. And that itself has given me an entirely new vision of the world.

~GOALL member, male, age 17


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