Why is Youth Voice Important?

You may be wondering: Indeed, why is youth voice important? I would invite you to try a simple experiment. Find a youth. Ask them a question. Now listen. Make space and make time. Let them know that you are not expecting “the right answer” or for them to talk to you in a way that […]

Going Above and Beyond

When the system of care provides not just the basic needs—food, shelter, so on—but also the advanced needs—love, comfort, hope—of youth, then we are all better off. When I was younger, I ended up in foster care. My father had passed away due to a service-related illness, and my mother, though she is the sweetest […]

Forever Family

My whole life I yearned for a family. In fact I thought that not having a family or belonging to a certain group meant that I was worthless and would never be  “loved.” I have been through a total of ten foster placements and none of them had given me the feeling of being a […]

The Fun Side of Youth-Adult Partnerships

Hey y’all! This is Diamond Whitley, the Youth Engagement Specialist from One Voice IMPAACT (follow us on Facebook and Instagram, please). Firstly, let me ask you what you think a Youth-Adult Partnership is? Is it a student and a teacher? Is it a parent and a child? Is it a coach and a player? What […]


I feel as if I am making a difference in my life since I got involved with One Voice IMPAACT (OVI). I have met some AMAZING women that have influenced me to take control of my community. OVI not only helps young adults and youth formerly in foster care but also gives back to the […]

Youth Engagement – Authentic Relationships

How can we better engage youth? The question comes up a lot in the child welfare system as professionals search for the elusive silver bullet to support, stabilize, and motivate youth in care…

What is Youth Voice?

Experiences are what make us or break us. My childhood experiences and the time I spent in the Florida foster care system inspired me to become the resilient leader many people know me as today. Without these experiences, who knows how different my life would have turned out, or the values I would hold. One […]

The Significance of “Youth Voice”

Thirty years serving children and youth here in Florida has taught me much about the systemic prioritization that was designed to provide safety, well-being and permanency, all of which is evaluated by the broad metrics that haven’t necessarily reflected value in the voice of our youth. In fact, through my journey, which started as an […]

Youth Voice Matters

It is time to listen to youth voices in the foster care system. We cannot improve the system without gathering feedback from the consumers of our programs. We MUSTraise youth voice from a whisper to a thunderous roar. We MUST integrate lessons learned from their lived experience to improve our programs, processes, and policies.