CYC's Youth Leadership
WHAT IS YOUTH LEADERSHIP?
Leadership is something that must be practiced to be mastered. Youth leadership is embedded in CYC’s mission by empowering foster youth to engage in policy advocacy through skill and relationship building. CYC provides many opportunities for youth to develop their own leadership styles through one on one support and mentoring; specialized training and unique leadership development opportunities. Members are given numerous opportunities to utilize their skills when speaking directly to decision makers and stakeholders and participating in media interviews to help educate the community on issues important to foster youth.
Some examples of youth leadership opportunities for CYC members include: chairing and participating on our Youth Advisory Board and Legislative Committee, youth running their own chapter meetings, chapters hosting our annual statewide conferences, members facilitating workshops and trainings, internship opportunities, our newly forming Statewide Youth Council and representing youth voice in internal and external statewide committees.
The foundation of CYC’s work is the work of our county-based youth chapters. Chapters are led by youth members and supported by CYC’s adult supporters/volunteers. Each chapter determines their leadership structure (chair, rotating facilitator, president/vice president). The chapter leaders prepare agendas, facilitate meetings, and support the work of other members. Chapter leaders receive leadership training throughout the year, through 1-on-1 coaching by other youth, staff and adult supporters; regional trainings offered by staff to chapters; and workshops at our annual conferences.
STATEWIDE YOUTH LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE
The CYC Legislative Committee is the body that oversees the direction of CYC sponsored legislation and is responsible for reviewing and taking positions on current legislation that affects current and former foster youth. The Legislative Committee is made up of 8 members elected by their CYC peers to represent regions of the state. Throughout the year the Legislative Committee Representatives become experts in policy advocacy and are trained in the legislative process, public speaking, policy advocacy, meeting with decision makers and more! To learn more, please click here.
STATEWIDE YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD
The Advisory Board (AB) represents our youth membership across California and is led by two elected Co-Chairs who serve a one-year term. Each chapter selects a primary and alternate member to participate and fill a one-year term. The AB convenes for daylong in-person meetings on a quarterly basis in the Bay Area in March, June, September, and December. AB member elections are held annually at the CYC Summer Conference, in between the June and September quarterly meetings. The AB provides oversight to the member and chapter related programs and structures such as conferences, new chapters, and monitoring current chapter activity. Additionally, the AB maintains a strong relationship with the Board of Directors and provides input and recommendations.
Advisory Board Member Responsibilities:
· Participate. Attend and actively engage at each quarterly meeting.
· Represent. Provide input and decisions that stand for the local chapter.
· Communicate. Serve as the liaison between the AB and local chapter.
· Report back. Deliver important information back to local chapter.
STATE YOUTH COUNCIL
CYC, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Child Welfare Directors’ Association (CWDA), Co-Investment Partnership, California Connected by 25-Initiative, Stuart Foundation and the Walter S Johnson Foundation know that youth voice is critical to improving child welfare - not just youth presenting to policy makers, but as part of the decision-making process.
To accomplish this, CYC and these partners are developing a State Youth Council to provide an opportunity for ongoing youth input into child welfare policy and practice change embedded in CDSS and CWDA work. Members will be trained in the process of policy and practice implementation, public speaking and other leadership skills. Youth Council members will participate in an ongoing and substantive way, partnering with state and local child welfare policy makers to ensure youth voice is the foundation of policy and practice implementation across the state.
Please click here for an overview of the Council.
Please click here for an application for the Council.
STATEWIDE YOUTH INTERNSHIPS
CYC believes in providing our members with a variety of ways to be involved with the external and internal happenings of the organization. Each year, CYC offers interships at our statewide offices for current and former foster youth. The internships provide youth with an another opportunity to become engaged with their foster care community, policy makers and community stakeholders. To learn more about our intership opportunities, please click here.