Brevard Youth Leadership Council (BYLC) Gives “Youth Voice and Choice”
One Voice IMPAACT (OVI) is excited to have Brevard Youth Leadership (BYLC) as part of the Network of Independent Youth Councils across Florida! The Council is a leadership board that is organized to give “youth voice and choice” in impacting change in policy and practice for children and youth in care served by the lead agency, Brevard Family Partnership.
Since 2019, the Florida Coalition for Children (FCC) and the Selfless Love Foundation have worked together on OVI’s statewide youth engagement initiative. OVI provides a platform for current and former foster youth to develop their leadership skills and use their lived experience to work alongside child welfare system leaders to find solutions to local and statewide issues. This community of youth leaders is making a difference in child welfare today and for generations to come.
Key priorities for BYLC is to increase networking to promote positive youth development, increase mentors and supporting adults, and increase opportunities for youth to use their life skills as they prepare for independence.
Participants, youth in care between the ages of 14-21, are chosen through a selective application and interview process by the Brevard Youth Leadership Council. The youth develop their Council after completing a 6-month leadership training. This training prepares youth with the leadership capacity to learn the key skills needed to be effective self-advocates as well as advocates for system change.
Through this process, young leader participants make new friends, build confidence and leadership skills as they forge partnerships with community leaders.
What makes Brevard Family Partnership youth engagement initiative unique is their Youth-Adult Partnership for Change component. By bringing youth and supporting adults together, they are able to implement and sustain youth-driven policy and practice changes. Working collaboratively and meeting regularly also allows BYLC and systems leaders to fulfill their vision of youth and young adults in the system of care having a voice and providing them an opportunity to thrive.
FCC proud to spotlight Brevard Family Partnership as a model for other areas across the state who are looking to develop youth councils. For more information about BYLC, contact Angela Oliver-Burgess, SMILE for Budgie, at [email protected] or visit https://www.smileforbudgie.com/bylc.