What is YAB?
The Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) established the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in November of 2005 as a means to include the perspectives of young people served by DFCS in the decisions regarding services for current and former foster youth.
The members of YAB consist of both former and current Santa Clara County foster and probation youth up to 25 years of age. DFCS staff and/or community members serve as adult supporters. The board meets monthly and has 5 elected officer positions including: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and social events coordinator. DFCS offers a stipend and dinner to elected officers and YAB general members.
YAB is focused on review of services in the areas of foster youth education, housing, and employment, but has also been utilized for consultation in the areas of foster parent recruitment, Santa Clara County’s Peer Quality Case Review (PQCR) regarding placement stability, and with regard to the Department’s System Improvement Plan (SIP). Additionally, YAB has increased its efforts in promoting, encouraging and supporting advocacy, both at the individual and the group (target population) level. These efforts will be focused on improving services for the disadvantaged youth populations that we both serve and represent.
YAB has proved to be both a useful and powerful tool in helping the Department move forward in decision making, especially by promoting the inclusion of the youth being served. DFCS is continuing to support the growth of YAB by providing both training and mentorship toward professional development for those youth elected to officer positions. Training is provided through the Career Development Unit and includes preparation for public speaking, meeting protocol, and interpersonal communication in an effort to develop confidence, skills, and self-esteem. In addition, DFCS has worked with YAB officers to develop policies and procedures regarding election of officers and is promoting increased involvement in DFCS workgroups and in speaking presentations. DFCS is committed to the idea that these are our leaders of tomorrow and values their partnership.
The members of the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s Services Youth Advisory Board are committed to minimizing the struggle endured by current and former foster and probation youth.
Our goal is to provide an equal opportunity for growth, success, and achievement for current and former dependent youth which will better equip them to age into their future.
YAB’s Successes and Accomplishments
- Partnered with ILP for events, including leading both the planning and hosting of the annual ILP celebration
- Developed as a forum for guest speakers, as well as for distribution of important information and resources that are of interest to youth
- Serves as a forum for DFCS to obtain feedback, utilizing the expertise and knowledge of former youth
- Has become well known throughout the community and is used by community partners as a forum to reach youth
- Worked with California Youth Connection (CYC) in organizing a youth focused activity in support of National Foster Care month for 2008
- YAB President has provided technical assistance training to other CC25I counties regarding development of a youth advisory board in their respective counties
- Received a Resolution from Assembly Member Jim Beall’s office in recognition of their efforts toward youth engagement for Foster Care Appreciation month. In addition, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund presented YAB with a monetary award to continue their efforts.
All current and former foster and probation youth between the ages of 14 to 24 years of age are welcome to attend and become members of YAB. Community members and partners are welcome to attend as guests. Dinner is served at meetings and a stipend is available to youth once they have become members.
Meetings are held on the 2nd Monday of the month from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at various locations in the community. Topics for discussion and information provided vary from month to month. For more information or to learn about this month’s meeting location, please email YAB at firstname.lastname@example.org