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Youth Advisory Boards Information

Regional Youth Advisory Boards Information

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all Youth Advisory Board meetings are currently being held online.

The mission of the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is to educate, advocate and empower all youth in care. The Youth Advisory Board is a commissioned board that partners with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide advocacy by advising the DCFS director and General Assembly on issues impacting current and former youth in care. This is a large task, and for youth to fulfill the board’s legislative mandate, there are skills they must possess. To ensure success, Be Strong Families developed a 12 module Youth Leadership Development curriculum that prepares youth to become advocates for transformative change. Formal monthly meetings are convened and ran by the youth leaders.

YAB Officers and members contribute to ensuring youth in care are aware of polices, resources and youth rights with support from adult partnerships. Getting your youth and emerging adults involved in the Youth Advisory Board is a great opportunity for them to be part of something larger than themselves while making systemic change in child welfare. In addition to gaining leadership and advocacy skills, YAB members will be making positive change that will impact themselves and other youth in care.

The Youth Advisory Board also gives youth a unique opportunity to work in full partnership with caring adults. Through youth-adult partnerships, young people have the chance to meet and make life-long connections with adults who value and respect their insight and perspective. YAB’s adult partners work thoughtfully to ensure a safe physical, mental and emotional space that provides youth the best environment to reach their full potential as youth leaders and advocates.

The YAB provides dinner to attendees and transportation for youth who have attended at least one meeting (once meetings are in-person). There is also an incentive program in which participants earn gift cards for continued monthly attendance and active engagement. If you have or know a youth in care that is between the ages of 14-21, encourage them to join the Youth Advisory Board.

The Cook County Regional Youth Advisory Board meetings are held every third Thursday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The Northern Regional Youth Advisory Board meetings are held every third Tuesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

To RSVP for Cook or Northern regions, or for more information, please contact:
Takeisha Starnes
800-805-2505 or takeisha@bestrongfamilies.net

The Central Regional Youth Advisory Board meetings are held every second Wednesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The Southern Regional Youth Advisory Board meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

To RSVP for Central or Southern regions, or for more information, please contact:
Stephen Bora
800-805-2505 or stephen@bestrongfamilies.net

Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, meetings will resume in person. Meeting locations and times will be updated at that time.