Child Welfare Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Board wins national award

University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Child Welfare Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Board named an EXEMPLARLY INITIATIVE

National search highlights initiatives helping youth thrive


Washington, D.C. (January 16, 2014) – Today, the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Child Welfare Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Board, was named one of 15 local, state and national youth and family serving initiatives making a critical difference in the lives of youth in foster care by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), a national organization based in Washington, DC.

The Child Welfare Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Board was recognized because of its commitment to building qualities that help youth (age 11-26) – particularly those in the child welfare system - mitigate or eliminate risk and promote healthy development and well-being.

The Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board brings together approximately 300 youth and alumni sixteen and older involved with the child welfare system from all across the commonwealth. The Youth Advisory Board educates, advocates, and creates positive change in the child welfare system. The Child Welfare Resource Center provides leadership and oversight to Youth Advisory Board (spearheaded in partnership with youth).

“We are exceptionally proud to support the work of the Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board and to promote youth involvement and voice in shaping the direction of the child welfare system, “says Principal Investigator Helen Cahalane. “The experience and perspective of youth are instrumental in helping us achieve positive, sustaining change in our policies, our services, and within our communities.”

These exemplary initiatives all exemplify CSSP’s Youth Thrive™ framework, which is built around five research-informed factors: youth resilience, social connections and concrete support in times of need, knowledge of adolescent development, cognitive and social-emotional competence in youth.

The Child Welfare Resource Center’s Youth Advisory Board will provide CSSP and the child welfare field with on the ground examples of policies, training and programs that operationalize the Youth Thrive protective and promotive factors. That information will be used to help influence program and public policy change across the country.

“These 15 programs represent organizations and agencies that are achieving outcomes that are truly improving the well-being of very vulnerable youth,” said Susan Notkin, CSSP associate director. “They share a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities adolescents face, the impact of trauma they have experienced and the commitment needed to stick with them, no matter what.” 

Programs were selected out of more than 130 nominees and were chosen after a rigorous review that included a detailed written application, extensive site visits and interviews with youth, families and staff.

The other selected programs are:

  • Anu Family Service, St. Paul, MN
  • Center for Fostering Success- Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Child Well Being Project-Catawba County Social Services, Hickory, NC
  • FAME-Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • FosterEd, Oakland, CA
  • Just Like Me-Family Support Services of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
  • MAAC/EmpowerMEnt, Atlanta, GA
  • My Life Project-Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • Next Generation Center-Children’s Aid Society, New York, NY
  • Personal Best for Teens-Ackerman Institute, New York, NY
  • PHILLIPS Family Partners, Annandale, VA
  • Unconditional Care Model-Seneca Family of Agencies, San Francisco, CA
  • Trauma Informed Care-SaintA, Milwaukee, WI
  • Transitional Living Program-Youth Villages, Memphis, TN

About the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Child Welfare Resource Center

The Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center (CWRC) is a national leader in advocating for an enhanced quality of life for Pennsylvania’s children, youth, and families.  In partnership with families, communities, public and private agencies, the CWRC prepares and supports exceptional child welfare professionals and systems through education, research and a commitment to best practice. The Child Welfare Resource Center  provides training, technical assistance, transfer of learning, organizational effectiveness, and support for best practice to the child welfare workforce within Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  Youth and family involvement is central to the mission of the CWRC.

 About The Center for the Study of Social Policy
The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is a national, nonprofit organization recognized for its leadership in shaping policy, reforming public systems and building the capacity of communities. For more than 30 years, CSSP has influenced and supported elected officials, public administrators, families and neighborhood residents to take the actions they need. Based in Washington, DC, CSSP translates research and new ideas into strategies for on-the-ground implementation. We use the knowledge from those real experiences to better inform the next generation of ideas, programs and policies. CSSP’s goal is to make sure low income children can learn, develop and thrive with the support of strong families, in safe and healthy communities. For more information, visit or call 202.371.1565.

For more information please contact: Shannon Murphy, or 412-648-9404