The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a program of Boston CASA that aims to amplify, center, and uplift the voices of youth currently or formerly involved in the foster care system and support their individual and collective growth. The Youth Advisory Board provides feedback to the organization on their experiences working with CASAs and in the foster care system and works to suggest and implement practices that better serve the needs of youth in foster care. Over 10 months, select youth are compensated with a $500 monthly stipend for their participation. They attend in-person and virtual collaborative meetings, work one-on-one with CASA staff on identified individual goals, projects, and collectively work towards the completion of a youth–led project that addresses an identified need for youth in foster care. Boston CASA (YAB) is made up of 5 youth, ages 16+, of all backgrounds.
The Boston CASA YAB is grounded in and built upon various psychological theories, community organizing practices, youth initiatives, and current research on youth experiences in the foster care system. However, the YAB is youth-driven and youth-informed, so active board members will always lead and shape the board. The theoretical underpinnings serve as a framework and general guide, informing the way the adult’s approach and build relationships with the young people involved, providing accountability structures and processes for CASA staff, and serving as a reminder of our commitment to allowing youth to direct us with our support.
The cost to support each YAB participant is $5000 for the 10 month program, or $500 per youth each month. We rely on donations to keep our programs going.