5 young adults taking a selfie picture, with text that says, "Youth Voices from Foster Care: A youth-led initiative with the Kansas Youth Advisory Council

Youth Voices from Foster Care

A initiative to involve youth who have experienced foster care in the process of improving child welfare practice and policy.

Youth Voices from Foster Care (Youth Voices) is a arts-based, youth-led creative storytelling project that aims to involve youth who have experienced foster care in the process of improving child welfare practice and policy. Youth Voices is a collaboration between Kansas Strong and the Kansas Youth Advisory Council.

Using prompts developed by the Kansas Youth Advisory Council, participating youth will create art projects that answer one or more of these questions:

  • What supports do I need to thrive?
  • What did I appreciate about a caseworker who helped, impacted or supported me?
  • What advice would I give to others about how to communicate with me?
  • What information is most helpful for me to have?
  • What insights do I wish my foster parents or placement provider had?

Project Information

  • Youth Voices is one strategy of Kansas Strong for Children and Families.

  • Principal Investigator: Becci Akin

  • Co-Investigator: Kaela Byers

  • Project Manager: Sarah McCall

  • Dates: October 2018-September 2023

  • Funder: Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grant number 90-CO-1139

Thought bubbles - What supports do I need to thrive? What advice would I give to others about how to communicate with me? What information is most helpful for me to have? What did I appreciate about a caseworker who helped, impacted or supported me? What insights do I wish my foster parents or placement provider had?

Using prompts developed by the Kansas Youth Advisory Council

Youth will make creative projects of their choosing that will build knowledge around the hopes, needs, and aspirations of youth in foster care.

Our Goals

Young adult looking contemplative

Improved Services

To learn from youth in foster care and better understand their needs and goals. Their input will help us share information with professionals who are responsible for developing effective services that meet the needs of children, youth, and families in KS.
Young adult in a classroom smiling

Research

To share what we learn from this process with people working in child welfare across the country and to promote partnering with youth coalitions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Youth ages 14-26 who have experienced foster care

The KU Research Team will lead youth in creating individual or collective art projects (or both!). These sessions will occur over Zoom for the foreseeable future.

We are offering two kinds of Zoom groups on different days and times that participating youth can choose from:

  • Creative Arts Groups: These are open sessions to make any kind of creative project.
  • Poetry Groups: These are groups where everyone in attendance will write individual poems and then use those poems to create a collective poem.

The sessions will last 1.5 – 2 hours

Participating youth will be asked to attend one session, but they are welcome to attend as many as they would like!

Child welfare workers, anybody providing services to youth, administrators, policymakers, other relevant child welfare stakeholders, researchers, youth


Key Collaborators

The Kansas Youth Advisory Council unites youth in care and enables them to speak directly about their experiences while obtaining life and leadership skills. The Council is an organized structure for youth to provide advice and recommendations concerning the child welfare system in Kansas and on a National level.


6 young adults with their arms around each other, smiling

Prioritizing the Voices of Youth and Families

This work reflects a call to action from the United States Children's Bureau to engage, learn from, and honor the expertise of youth.

Children's Bureau Resources
Kansas Strong for Children and Families

Kansas Strong for Children and Families

Youth Voices from Foster Care is one strategy of Kansas Strong for Children and Families, a federally-funded initiative that aims to support Kansas child welfare as a collaborative, data-driven system that achieves positive outcomes for children’s well-being, safety, and permanency.

About Kansas Strong