Power in Partnership: Elevating Shared Parenting Policies and Practices Through The Lens of Lived Experience
Youth Law Center’s Quality Parenting Initiative has created a national movement to change the policies, practices, and culture of foster care systems by putting children’s relationships first. While over 100,000 children, 25% of children in care in the United States, are affected by the QPI approach, sometimes the impact can best be understood through the story of one child and family. To that end, YLC is proud to share the release of the Quality Parenting Initiative’s (QPI) Power in Partnership: Elevating Shared Parenting Policies and Practices Through The Lens of Lived Experience, a series of stories that highlight the policy and practice impact of YLC’s Quality Parenting Initiative on supporting birth parent and foster parents working together for what is in the best interest of each child and youth.
“We want (the biological parents) to feel as comfortable and as safe as they can, and be reassured that their child is safe… The system looks at people as numbers, but we want people to understand, we don’t — you’re family. I don’t want a stigma on anybody.” – Daniel Mesa, resource parent in CA
These stories are powerful tools for child welfare agencies to understand their role in supporting birth and foster parent partnerships, and can contribute to changing the narrative of foster care. While focusing on the lens of a birth and foster parent, each story addresses the policy and practice changes necessary to promote and support these relationships.
The series includes these impactful stories:
- Redefining ‘Family’: California
- Empowering Change: Minnesota
- Changing the Culture: Louisiana
- Changing the Training: Nevada
- Policy to Practice Implementation: Florida
QPI, a strategy of YLC, was launched in 2008 in Florida, and as of 2022, over 80 jurisdictions in 12 states have participated in the QPI approach. QPI is a national movement committed to ensuring that all children in care have excellent parenting and lasting relationships so they can thrive and grow. This series was developed by Youth Law Center’s Quality Parenting Initiative in collaboration with the Birth and Foster Parent Partnership and the Children’s Trust Fund Alliance, with support from Casey Family Programs.
Executive Director: Jennifer Rodriguez
The Youth Law Center advocates to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems across the nation so every child and youth can thrive.
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YLC is, quite simply, effective. The team, led by Jennifer Rodriguez, is top notch, bringing together legal expertise, lived experience, a commitment to being youth-centered, and the advocacy chops to effect systemic change. A recent example is the advocacy around out-of-state placements for foster youth. YLC researched 16 facilities housing CA kids and found abuse, neglect, appalling conditions, and rights violations. YLC’s advocacy campaign resulted in the State of CA halting admissions to those facilities and beginning the process to decertify them in favor of family-based placements. Systems change work takes time but is deeply satisfying, and why the Foundation continues to support YLC.
The Youth Law Center is truly a cornerstone organization, successfully building a network of nonprofit and public sector advocates committed to promoting pathways to and through postsecondary education for youth connected to the juvenile justice system. By fostering links between the probation system and California’s higher education institutions, YLC and its policy advocacy strategy have advanced the notion that justice reform must meaningfully include youth. The team at Youth Law Center is a valuable thought partner to Cal Wellness as we consider our investments to help improve the wellbeing of youth who are too often ignored.
Give to Create Opportunity for Justice-Impacted Youth
Donations to the Youth Law Center will directly support its advocacy to transform foster care and juvenile justice systems so that every young person has access to postsecondary education.
“With additional funding, we can expand our advocacy to ensure that more youth become tomorrow’s leaders,” says Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center’s Executive Director.
To illustrate the important impact of donations:
•A $1,000 gift would allow YLC to invest in the leadership of a justice-impacted youth to work in partnership with advocates on policy reforms.
•$20,000 is enough to fund an entire advocacy leadership academy to give young people the skills they need to change the very systems that so often hurt them.
•With $100,000, YLC could launch a campaign to secure additional state investment in postsecondary education for justice-impacted youth in order to ensure equitable futures for tens of thousands of vulnerable young people.
Alyssa Martin Anderson
Fatima Goss Graves
Honorable Tomar Mason
Howard and Carol Fine
Matthew and Moon Gemello
William S. Koski and Sundari Wind
Andrus Family Fund
Annie E. Casey Foundation
The California Wellness Foundation
May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Tipping Point Community
van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation
The Walter S. Johnson Foundation
Zellerbach Family Foundation