By Eric Burden | December 19, 2017
The purpose of this document is to describe the practice model utilized for the Mississippi Teen Advisory Board, titled “Path to Progress”. Many of the methods described by this document are derived from research, general principles, experience, and a bit of trial and error. The Teen Advisory Board (TAB) began under another name, the HOPE Forum (HOPE = Helping Others Prosper Equally). The HOPE Forum was essentially an event held annually as part of a larger event, and provided youth in the foster care system an opportunity to provide feedback about the care they were receiving. Initially, the TAB experienced a rocky start, including a lack of clear direction and gaps in activity. In 2014, I was tasked with reforming this project. New leadership and direction placed the TAB on a path of achievement, and these young people have since made significant contributions to the Mississippi foster care system. In an effort to ensure that these contributions, and the benefits to young people through the TAB program, continue, I developed and formalized this practice model. It is my hope that the lessons learned while working with the TAB will be of some use to other child welfare professionals, as we seek to engage our greatest resource, our youth, to tackle our most daunting challenges.