Adoption Triad: Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection

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November 2023   |   Archive   |   National Adoption Month   

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Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection

All teens deserve love, support, and the sense of belonging that families can provide. Securing lifelong connections for teens in foster care, both legally and emotionally, is critical in determining their future achievement, health, and well-being. We continue focusing on this work, in partnership with young people, to pursue adoption or other permanency for every teen in foster care. This year's National Adoption Month theme, "Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection," recognizes that youth engagement is an ongoing process that is essential in permanency planning. Empowering youth means that professionals make space for youth to take the lead in making decisions that affect their lives. Empowerment helps youth develop their own identity and recognize the talents and strengths they have. When you're a teen in the child welfare system and away from your birth family, developing your identity can feel like you're on the journey alone. As adoption professionals, it is our job to be a partner on this journey and help youth remain connected to their roots while also finding new connections and opportunities. We must also embrace and affirm the youth's racial and cultural identity to ensure the youth's holistic identity is considered during permanency planning.

Engaging youth should be a daily practice for child welfare and adoption professionals. Be intentional about finding points of connection, which means making the most of your time and building a trusting relationship with the young person. The National Adoption Month 2023 website highlights strategies for engaging and empowering young people and integrating their voices in decisions and practices. Resources that can help the teens you work with better understand what has happened and prepare them to make decisions for their future are also available. Additionally, you will find tools to help spread the word about National Adoption Month and the importance of creating a support system for teens in foster care. We hope you join us this year in calling attention to helping youth of all ages achieve permanency.

The National Adoption Month 2023 website also features resources from Children’s Bureau adoption grant recipients related to building relationships with teens and understanding the impact of trauma, separation, and loss. The Youth and Family Voices page features stories and videos highlighting the importance of adoption and connectedness for teens. Share these stories as you discuss permanency planning with youth. Sometimes, learning about adoption from those who have navigated the path is most impactful.

Use the additional resources below to empower youth and find points of connection:


"2023 National Adoption Month Webinar: Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection"


By Child Welfare
Information Gateway
& AdoptUSKids



"Barriers to Authentic Youth Engagement"



By Quality Improvement Center
on Engaging Youth
in Finding Permanency


"Prioritizing Youth Voice: The Importance of Authentic Youth Engagement in Case Planning "


   By Child Welfare
Information Gateway


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