Section 4, Chapter 5 (Older Youth Program), Subsection 8 – Youth Leadership and Advocacy

Effective Date:  5-1-19


Leadership opportunities are an important life skill and should be given to all youth in care.  Participation in leadership development experiences is linked to increased self-efficacy and the development of skills relevant to success in adulthood and the workplace such as decision-making and working well with others. It is important for youth to be fully informed of their rights while in foster care and to be able to advocate for themselves and others on those rights.

 5.8.1 State Youth Advisory Board

The Missouri State Youth Advisory Board (SYAB) was established December 1992. The SYAB meets on a quarterly basis.  Each member of the board is an outstanding youth in foster care or youth that obtained adoption or guardianship after the age of sixteen that represents other youth in his/her area of the state.  Each of the seven administrative areas is represented with up to four (4) youth who are nominated at their local level to serve on the SYAB to assure that SYAB members are equally representing their specific area as related to geographical size.  The board also may consist of three non-voting, ex-officio members.  Ex-officio members must be a current or former foster care youth who has served at least a one-year term as a board member or alternate, within the last three years.

Recognizing each SYAB member represents all children and youth who are/were in out-of-home placements, each SYAB member is responsible for providing Children’s Services’ policy and procedural input to CD administrative staff/Juvenile Court. The SYAB decides what goals and activities they want to pursue for upcoming meetings and carry those out accordingly.  The SYAB works as a network by bringing back important information to the Area Youth Advisory Board (AYAB) or other area youth leadership community, who in turn, takes information back to youth in their area.  When recommended to serve on the SYAB, the membership term is one year, however, once a member; there are guidelines to follow in order to continue membership.

Each region has a local youth advisory board through the regional Chafee provider.

5.8.2 “What’s It All About? A Guidebook for Youth in Out-of-Home Care”

The guidebook is to be given to all youth coming into care after age 14 and those youth turning 14 while in care. The book is intended to provide information to youth while in care and transitioning out of care on what they can expect while in care and resources that may help them.  With the passage of H.R. 4980, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act., states are required to provide youth in care age 14 and older with information on their rights, explain rights in an age appropriate manner, and document information was provided to youth regarding their rights. Documentation of youth receipt should be noted on the Adolescent FST Guide (CD94) under “Self-Care/Health” section by selecting the checkbox to note the “What’s it All About? – A Guide for Youth in Out-of-Home Care” has been provided to the youth. A copy of the acknowledgement form on the last page of the guidebook is to be placed in the file under the Older Youth Program Section. The guidebook is available on E-forms and located on the CD internet.

5.8.3 Foster Care Bill of Rights

The Foster Care Bill of Rights (FCBR) Section 210.564, RSMo was passed in 2017. There are seven items listed in the FCBR which reinforce the Children’s Division’s mission and goals. As part of this legislation, the FCBR must be provided and explained to all school aged children in foster care and his or her foster parent. The child’s case manager is responsible for providing an age appropriate explanation or arranging for this explanation to occur. The FCBR and a set of talking points are available on the internet to help guide staff in having age appropriate discussions with youth about the FCBR.