Youth participation in foster youth advisory boards: Perspectives of facilitators

Judy Havlicek, Ashley Curry, Fabiola Villalpando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Foster youth advisory boards (YAB) have the objective of promoting foster youth participation in decisions that are made about their lives. There is currently little known about how youth participation is conceptualized or implemented within or across boards. This qualitative study explored youth participation from the perspectives of 42 primary YAB facilitators in 34 states. The study's findings are derived from telephone interviews. A thematic analysis identified four primary approaches to youth participation, which we labeled as being, ‘Adult-Led’ (n = 2); ‘Adult-Driven Youth Input’ (n = 14); ‘50–50 Youth-Adult Partnership’ (n = 16); and ‘Youth-Led’ (n = 2). Within each of these approaches to youth participation, we present findings that explore facilitators' conceptualizations of youth participation, the strategies and program activities they use to enact youth participation, and the strengths and limitations of each of the approaches. Our discussion explores implications for YAB program activities, youth participation in child welfare systems, and future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-270
Number of pages16
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Child welfare
  • Foster youth
  • Foster youth advisory boards
  • Youth participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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