What's New

What's New

The Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, building off the work of Theresa Hughes of St. John Law School in 2007, examined every state dependency statute and court rule to determine whether a child

1) is considered a party,
2) is entitled to notice of proceedings, and
3) has a right to be present during proceedings.

Furthermore, we requested feedback from the every state’s Court Improvement Project (CIP). Our goal is to keep this chart up-to-date and accurate, so we encourage you to contact us if you have changes or additions for your jurisdiction. Please feel free to share this State by State Youth in Court break down with fellow advocates.


The Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, in partnership with Florida’s Children First, has developed guide, “On Your Own, But Not Alone: A Handbook to Empower Florida Foster Youth Leaving Foster Care.” The handbook is designed to assist youth with the transition to adulthood, and includes information about pursuing education, securing housing, finding a job, managing a budget, and much more.

To download the handbook, please click here.


On October 7, 2008, President Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success” Act, H.R. 6893 (now P.L. 110-351), into law. As a result of this law, states will have the opportunity to obtain federal funds for support of youth in foster care beyond age 18. In the wake of the Federal Fostering Connections to Success Act, the Bar-Youth Empowerment Project and others emailed a number of national child welfare listservs (including the Court Improvement Project listserv, the ABA child-court listserv, and other national groups) asking states to identify recent bills introduced since enactment of P.L. 110-351 that would extend support for foster youth in that state beyond age 18. The attached chart summarizes key information obtained in regard to states that introduced. Anyone with information on states not listed on the chart that have introduced legislation in the wake of the Fostering Connections to Success Act to extend support for foster youth beyond age 18 should email that information to: krinskym@yahoo.com.

The ABA Center on Children and the Law and the Bar-Youth Empowerment Project intends to engage in ongoing efforts to update this chart and provide further information relating to work around the country on the Fostering Connections to Success Act.


The Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has developed a series of benchcards that are designed to assist judges with meaningfully involving youth in their court hearings. Please click on each of the following links to download the benchcards:


The Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, in partnership with Florida’s Children First and the Florida Court Improvement Program, has developed “ Hearing Your Voice: A Dependency Guide for Youth.” The booklet is designed to help youth understand the court process, and empower them to be involved.


The ABA's Bar-Youth Empowerment Project (in partnership with Casey Family Programs and the Eckerd Foundation) is collaborating with the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues to provide free trainings and technical assistance to states and territories for judges, lawyers, CASA's, social workers, foster parents, and all other stakeholders on effective strategies and practices to enhance the involvement of youth in court. To learn more about what the project offers, please click here.


The ABA's Bar-Youth Empowerment Project (in partnership with Casey Family Programs and the Eckerd Foundation) is collaborating with the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues to provide free trainings and technical assistance to states and territories for judges, lawyers, CASA's, social workers, foster parents, and all other stakeholders on effective strategies and practices to enhance the involvement of youth in court. To learn more about what the project offers, please click here.


Project Director to Present Live Webcast for the National Governor’s Association

WASHINGTON, DC – Andrea Khoury, Project Director for the ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has been selected to present as part of the National Governor’s Association webcast series. She will present about Permanency for Older Youth: Strategies that Work, including a discussion about the Project’s mission and goals. The webcast will take place on October 7, 2008 from 2-3 pm (Eastern). To register and for more information, please click here


Many States have Requested and Received Training and Technical Assistance about Involving Youth in Court

NATIONWIDE - Since the launching of the ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, many states have requested training and technical assistance about the need to involve youth in the legal proceedings that affect them. The Project has worked with California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Washington, D.C.. The Project has also worked with the Court Improvement Project and the National Governor’s Association. The project has a full and half-day training on the need to involve youth in court, and has developed a technical assistance package designed to assist jurisdictions who are working on implementation. The technical assistance package includes a list of frequent concerns about involving youth in court, along with suggestions to overcome these concerns; benchcards for judges on effectively involving youth in their court hearings, including a discussion of developmental milestones; and policy questions and suggestions for implementation. To access the technical assistance package, or to request free training or technical assistance, please click here


The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project Begins Work in Second Pilot Site, Washington

WASHINGTON – The ABA Bar-Youth Empoerment Project has selected its second mini-grant recipient, the Center for Children and Youth Justice (CCYJ). To read more about CCYJ, please click here . Under the leadership of CCYJ, the ABA will work throughout the state of Washington to build the capacity of organizations in Washington to improve outcomes for youth before and after they age out of foster care. CCYJ will create a project for pro bono attorneys to represent youth both in out-of-home care and those who have already existed care in their civil legal needs, including family law, housing, employment, and public benefits.


New Materials for Florida Youth

FLORIDA – The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has worked with the first mini-grant recipient, Florida’s Children First (FCF) and the Florida Court Improvement Program to develop materials for youth in and aging out of out-of-home care. The project has developed a booklet to help youth in foster care understand the court process, including the various court hearings, and to be empowered to participate meaningfully. This booklet contains a glossary and a list of frequently asked questions. The booklet will be printed and distributed to all youth ages 13-18 in out-of-home care. The Project also developed a “Know Your Rights” guide for youth exiting care that provides information about education, employment, public benefits, among other topics. The guide is designed to assist youth who are exiting care to understand their legal rights. For copies of either of these publications or for more information, please click here.


The ABA Commission on Youth at Risk and Bar-Youth Empowerment Project to host Roundtable on Pro Bono Counsel for Youth In and Aging Out of Care

NEW YORK CITY, NY. August 7, 2008 – The Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has begun work planning a Roundtable on pro bono counsel for youth in and aging out of care to take place at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City. The is intended to share information, exchange ideas, and broaden the network of professionals who are working to help the next generation. A panel of current and former foster youth will join the discussion and share their important perspective on these issues. The focus will be on the needs and challenges facing youth aging out of foster care. In particular, we will discuss how pro bono attorneys, law firms, and bar associations can assist youth both before and after they transition from foster care, identify local programs for youth, highlight the need for volunteer assistance and promote strategies for pro bono involvement. The Roundtable is invite only, but for more information, please email kellyk@staff.abanet.org.


National Pathways to Adulthood Transitional Living and Independent Living Conference Bridges to the Future: Education, Employment, and Engagement | May 14-16, 2008 | Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Workshop Session I
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm


American Bar Association Youth At Risk Commission's Bar-Youth Empowerment Project: Advocacy for Young Adults Aging/Aged Out of Foster Care

Andrea Khoury, Assistant Director of Child Welfare, Project Director, Bar-Youth Empowerment Project ABA Center on Children and the Law, Washington, DC;

David Ambroz, Executive Director, Los Angeles City College Foundation, Board Member, ABA Commission on Youth at Risk, Los Angeles, CA

The American Bar Association Youth at Risk Commission, in partnership with Casey Family Programs and the Eckerd Foundation, has begun an exciting new Bar–Youth Empowerment Project to improve outcomes for youth as they age out of foster care. A central goal of the project is to collaborate with pro bono attorneys and law students to provide legal advice and referrals to youth on the verge of aging out or to youth who have already aged out. Roll-out of the ABA project and strategies on how practitioners might leverage local resources to establish similar work in their own jurisdictions will be discussed.


The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project Announces National Advisory Board

WASHINGTON, DC – The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has assembled a national advisory board. The board brings together legal, judicial, child welfare, pro bono, and youth representatives from around the country. Each was selected because of the depth of their experience and knowledge relating to youth in and aging out of foster care. Their expertise will guide us throughout the life of this project and provide critical perspectives to examine important legal and advocacy issues on behalf of youth. For the list of members, and to see the minutes from the first meeting, please click here.


The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project Begins Work in First Pilot Site, Florida

FLORIDA – The ABA Bar-Youth Empowerment Project has selected its first mini-grant recipient, Florida’s Children First (FCF). To read more about FCF, please click here. Under the leadership of FCF, the ABA will work throughout the state of Florida to build the capacity of organizations in Florida to improve outcomes for youth before and after they age out of foster care. To inform the process, and encourage collaboration from multiple stakeholders, the ABA has assembled a Florida Advisory Board. The board brings together legal, judicial, child welfare, pro bono, and youth representatives from across the state. For the list of members, and to see the minutes from the first meeting, please click here.


The ABA Commission on Youth at Risk Launches the Bar-Youth Empowerment Project at ABA Mid-Year Meeting

LOS ANGELES, CA. February 7, 2008 – The ABA’s Commission on Youth at Risk and Center on Children and the Law officially launched the Bar-Youth Empowerment project at a reception at the ABA’s midyear meeting in Los Angeles, CA. The reception was sponsored by Daphna and Richard Ziman of Children Uniting Nations, an organization committed to systemic change that positively impacts the lives of at-risk youth and foster children. Will Gunn, Chairman of the Youth at Risk Commission, and Andrea Khoury, Project Director for the Bar-Youth Empowerment Project introduced this new, exciting ABA initiative. ABA Leadership, including current President William Neukom, past President Karen Mathis, and Executive Director Hank White, attended in support of the project.


The ABA Commission on Youth at Risk Holds Roundtable Related to the Needs of Youth Transitioning Out of Care

LOS ANGELES, CA. February 7, 2008 – The ABA’s Commission on Youth at Risk held a Roundtable entitled, Improving the Odds for Transitioning Youth: Promoting Advocacy and Youth Empowerment. The invitation only event brought together youth, judges, attorneys, bar association leaders, law school representatives, and child advocates to discuss ways to improve outcomes for this population of youth. The group also discussed ways to best implement the Bar-Youth Empowerment project, and the specific legal needs of youth who have aged out of care.


Andrea Khoury Testifies before Washington Legislature in Support of Children’s Right to Legal Counsel

OLYMPIA, WA. January 25, 2008 – On behalf of the American Bar Association, Andrea Khoury, Project Director for the Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, testified before the House Judiciary Committee of the Washington State Legislature regarding House Bill 3048, providing for child representation in the court process. For the complete testimony, please click here.

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