Youth Advisory Board

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Our Voices Will be Heard!
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What is the board's mission?
The mission of the Statewide Youth Advisory Board is to advocate and educate all youth in care by partnering with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and Chicago Area Project. We provide information about resources, opportunities, policies, and programs that affect all youth in care. We are committed to youth empowerment, development, leadership, and achievement across the state of Illinois.
 
Eligibility Requirements:
  • Youth are eligible to join the Youth advisory boards if they are current or former DCFS wards, adopted, or in subsidized guardianship between the ages of 14 and 21 years old.
 
Benefits:
  • Regional Youth Advisory Boards meet only once a month.
  • Have the opportunity to be chosen to speak on panels that discuss youth's thoughts on topics that directly affect youth in care.
  • Make life time connections with supportive DCFS staff and other organization's staff.
  • The Regional Youth Advisory Board meeting count towards Community Service Learning hours.
  • The Statewide Youth Advisory Board meets every other month rotating between Northern region, Cook region, Central region, and Southern region. Executive members get to travel and stay in hotels every other month while discussing important topics affecting youth in care with the other Youth Advisory Board regions.
  • The Youth Advisory Board makes specific recommendations to the DCFS Director aimed at improving programs and outcomes in education, sibling rights, mental and physical health, youth employment and training, juvenile delinquency, lifetime connections, and group home monitoring.
  • The board also hosts a variety of activities like:
    • Youth Summits
    • Graduation Celebration
    • Outreach/Community services
    • Special Events
    • Social Initiatives
    • Financial Aid Workshops
    • Caregiver Institutes
    • And More......
 
Why Should I Become a Member?
  • To help create and change laws to better your life in DCFS
  • Have a chance to let your voice be heard about any issues and/or concerns you may be experiencing.
  • Be the first one to know what's going on in DCFS
  • Learn more about resources and benefits that DCFS provides
  • Develop and demonstrate leadership, public speaking, and advocacy skills
  • It also looks good on your college and job application
 
Contact:
Statewide Youth Advisory Board Project Manager
Chicago Area Project
Tiffany White
312-588-3834

Statewide Youth Advisory Board, Coordinator
Struggling Youth Equals Successful Adults (SYESA)
Antwan Turpeau
773-696-1014

Cook and Northern Region Youth Advisory Board, Coordinator
Struggling Youth Equal Successful Adults (SYESA)
Tony Lawlor
773-696-1014

Cook and Northern Region Youth Advisory Board, Asst. Coordinator
Struggling Youth Equal Successful Adults (SYESA)
Brianna Pitassi
773-696-1014

Central and Southern Region Youth Advisory Boards, Coordinator
Primed For Life
LeShonda Rogers
217-789-2980

Central and Southern Region Youth Advisory Boards, Assistant Coordinator
Primed For Life
Anthony Brown
217-789-2980
 
 
Transportation requirements
You must RSVP at least one week in advance to be provided transportation. Transportation is provided to all members only if you RSVP on time and was transported to your first meeting by a caseworker, staff, or foster parent. Call for details.
 
Attention Caseworkers:
In order for a youth to become a member they will need the following documents submitted by their third meeting:
  • Service Plan
  • Social History/Integrated Assessment
  • One letter of recommendation from the caseworker
  • DCFS ID number Membership Application (handed out at first meeting)
  • Code of Conduct (handed out at first meeting)
  • Consent to travel (Caseworkers have the authority to give SYESA and PFL permission to transport youth to and from all Youth Advisory Board meetings and events)
Please contact the coordinator from your specific region for details on where to send the documents.

SYESA and PFL are the two organizations that coordinate the DCFS Youth Advisory Board Program. Both organizations have full authority from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to obtain the above mentioned documents for any youth that attends the Illinois DCFS Youth Advisory Board meetings.
 
 

Last Updated: March 1, 2013