State and Local Advocacy
CYC's Statewide and Local Advocacy
CYC engages current and former foster youth in policy advocacy to improve child welfare policy and practice. This work is done both at the local and statewide levels.
On a local level, youth members work within their own county chapter and communities to identify what can be improved in child welfare. They work with their local policy makers, such as the Directors of Children’s Services, local departments of education, social workers, and group home administrators to enact proposed solutions.
One example of local advocacy work is the Alameda chapter (Oakland) which worked in partnership with the Alameda County Department of Children and Families Services to assess the County’s group homes and develop a training and communication manual for group home providers and staff. In contrast, the Madera Chapter is working with Comcast to make sure every foster youth in the county has a computer and internet access in their placement. Each of the 32 CYC chapters across the state approaches improving the foster care system differently based on the needs of the individual community and the ideas of the youth. (more local issues)
On a statewide level, members from each chapter across the state meet twice a year for our statewide conferences, and have the opportunity to meet with their legislators to tell their story. At the conferences, the youth identify both common challenges that youth experience in care, as well as the good experiences to be replicated. They then develop policy recommendations that will improve foster care for all youth who enter the system. Based on the work of CYC members and their policy recommendations, dozens of child welfare laws have been enacted since CYC was founded in 1988. Often legislators and policy makers continue to advocate for the implementation of CYC recommendations years after the initial recommendations have been made.