Leaders for Change

Each year, Foster Youth In Action holds its Leaders for Change convening to bring together a group of powerful foster youth leaders from across the country. Leaders for Change is a three-day peer-to-peer learning and support network where participants have the opportunity to meet and build relationships with one another, share advocacy strategy, and meet key stakeholders. A youth planning committee assists in creating the agenda and activities for each Leaders for Change convening.

Youth and adult supporters from FYA’s partner organizations engage in rigorous training and work together to create real change for foster youth. Collaboration and focus around specific issue areas help participants increase the capacity and effectiveness of their organization so that upon returning to their home state, they have the tools they need to take action locally.

Check out this highlight video for L4C 2016!

For our 5th consecutive year, Foster Youth in Action hosted our 2016 national youth advocates’ conference, Leaders for Change, in Washington D.C., between October 21st and 24th! Culminating with legislative visits, delegations of youth leaders from local, state and national foster youth voice and leadership organizations convened in Washington, DC for 4 days and three nights of leading, learning, connecting, and action.  

The Work Accomplished

  • 10 youth reps — Leaders United — planned the conference, & acted as hosts, facilitators & workshop leaders.  
  • Youth leaders, both from Leaders United and other groups, delivered 7 unique workshops they developed themselves
  • All 22 delegations made formal presentations about their work, their issues, and their impacts to a rapt audience of peers and several outside guests from the national child welfare community at the Walter S. Johnson Foundation Showcase of Youth Action
  • Based on poll of more than 500 current and former foster youth across the FYA network, the conference featured 4 priority issues
  • Youth leaders educated each other about these priorities and their solutions, led a press conference that highlighted the issues, and paid visits to the offices of 25 separate legislators to discuss both national and local priorities

Our Participants

  • 86 young people ages 16 to 26 traveled as far as Hawaii and Maine to join together at Leaders for Change  
  • 23 adult allies traveled with them, not just as supporters but as participants eager to learn from the youth

Our Partner Organizations

Our partners came from 24 states and representing 22 different local and national organizations that have collectively advocated for the passage of more than 75 separate state laws and countless more regulatory changes. Leaders for Change is the nation’s only foster youth conference bringing together state-based youth-led groups representing hundreds of thousands of their peers across the US:

  • California Youth Connection
  •  Florida Youth Shine
  • Georgia EmpowerMEnt
  • Hawaii Foster Youth Coalition
  • Idaho Youth Advisory Board
  •  Iowa’s Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP)
  • Maine’s Youth Leadership Training Team (YLAT)
  • Maryland’s MYLIFE!
  • Massachusetts’ HEROES
  • New York’s Foster Advocacy Change and Empowerment (FACE)
  • Minnesota Youth Leadership Councils
  • Nebraska’s Connected Youth Initiative
  • New Jersey Youth Advisory Boards
  • North Carolina’s Strong Able Youth Speaking Out (SAYSO)
  • Oregon Foster Youth Connection
  • Philadelphia’s Youth Fostering Change
  • San Diego’s LEAP Ambassadors
  • Texas’ Voices for Change
  • Vermont Youth Leadership Program

Leaders for Change is made for possible with the generous sponsorship and support of the following foundations, individuals, and businesses: