Child Welfare

Status of Current Youth Transition Efforts (continued)

graphic of a person at a crossroads

YLAT       
Maine’s Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT) is a collaborative effort involing youth, Muskie School of Public Service and DHHSOffice of Child and Family Services.  Young people in foster care are encouraged to participate in youth leadership activities and can join YLAT beginning around age 14.  YLAT There are YLAT meetings across the state (visit www.ylat.usm.maine.edu for a calendar). 

Founded in 1998, Maine’s Youth Leadership Advisory Team relies on youth-adult partnerhsips for its success.  In 2008, Maine’s YLAT was a finalist in the Innovations in American Government Awards.  YLAT has also been instrumental

YLAT is defined by the following 5 values of youth-adult partnership:

    • Each partner brings expertise.
    • Each partner exercises leadership.
    • Each partner changes and grows through participation.
    • Each partner is included fully.
    • Each partner gives and receives respect.

Young people in care have a large number of adultscase workers, supervisors, foster parents, judges, lawyers, and service providersmaking decisions about their lives.  YLAT focuses on advising these influential adults about what youth in care most need and want during their time in care.  YLAT also gives a place for young people in foster care to connect with other youth in care and caring adults in a supportive, safe environment; learn new skills; and to help change the child welfare system.  And, YLAT members have helped improve the child welfare system:  YLAT members train new workers and resource parents; present to judges, lawyers and special advocates; and present to the legislature.  YLAT members were instrumental in helping develop the OCFS Permanency Policy, Youth in Care Bill of Rights, and the State of Maine Tuition Waiver legislation.

For additional information about YLAT, schedules of meetings, and for more helpful information (like the Answers Handbook”) please visit the YLAT website (www.ylat.usm.maine.edu) or contact:

Susan Burns Chong
YLAT, Muskie School of Public Service
University of Southern Maine
P.O. Box 9300
Bedford Street
Portland, Maine 04104-9300
Phone:  1-877-792-YLAT (9528)
Fax:  207-780-5817
TTY:  207-780-5646
Email:  sburnschong@usm.maine.edu