YLC Convenes National Conference of QPI Champions
YLC launched the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) over a decade ago as a national movement committed to ensuring that all children in care have excellent parenting and lasting relationships so they can thrive and grow. Over 100,000 children, 25% of children in care in the United States, are affected by the QPI approach. One of QPI’s newest initiatives prioritizes investing in the leadership and advocacy capacity of local leaders, particularly directly impacted youth and families, to train them as “QPI Champions”, advocates who champion needed changes in their own communities. Over the last year, QPI has trained over 250 champions across the country.
In September, the inaugural QPI Champions Conference, “Applying a QPI Developmental Lens to Ensure Excellent Parenting and Relationships for Young Children and Teens” was held in Reno, Nevada. 147 QPI-trained advocates attended the in-person event in “the biggest little city in the world”!
Participants received training on meeting the unique developmental needs of infants and young children in child welfare practice from international child development expert, Dr. Charles Zeanah, as well as training on a developmental research informed approach to practice for adolescents. Champions had the opportunity to work with their peers from across the country in applying research to practice through identifying necessary practice and policy changes in the areas of recruitment and retention, transitions, placement matching, placement stability, working with partners, and promoting birth and foster parent relationships. The conference also addressed changes needed to affirm and uplift children’s racial, ethnic and cultural identity, and gave an example of how one site’s efforts to apply research to change their visitation policy and practice to support children’s relationships and the relationships between families.
This was an exciting first convening for our Champions who are leading the charge in national child welfare system reform. For more information about the QPI Champions and training, read more here.
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