As part of DCS’s 2020 Youth Engagement Strategic Plan, young people were tasked with creating a training tool on authentic youth engagement for juvenile judges across the state of Indiana. Members of the Indiana Youth Advisory Board (IYAB) Leadership Team bravely provided feedback on their experiences in court during their time in the child welfare system. This feedback was used to create a bench card that Indiana judges may have on their bench when hearing cases for older youth in Indiana’s foster care system. On one side of the Bench Card, includes tips of authentic youth engagement and information about Older Youth Services. The other side includes feedback from IYAB members on what they wished their Judge would have known when they were seen in court.
The Bench Card was presented to the Judges at their Annual Symposium in Carmel, IN. Rimy Morris, Justin Hayden, Alayna Leonard, and Chance Kapase participated in a panel discussion sharing their personal experiences in court and how they feel judges can best use the principles of authentic youth engagement with cases involving young people in foster care. These young leaders also presented the Bench Card to the judges who were impressed by their work.