Youth Leadership Opportunities in Wisconsin

Benefits for joining a foster or youth justice leadership opportunity
  • Are you a youth who is interested in having a voice in shaping the child welfare and/or youth justice system?
  • Do you have personal experience (past or present) with the foster care or youth justice system?
  • Do you know a young person who has leadership potential?
  • Are you considering how to incorporate youth voice into your work?

If yes, please read more about the Department of Children and Families opportunities for youth to have a voice and make an impact.

The Wisconsin Youth Advisory Council

The Wisconsin Youth Advisory Council (YAC) began in 2005 and consists of former and current youth in the foster care system who provide a voice for all foster care youth in Wisconsin. Youth start on regional councils, but have the ability to become members of the Statewide Advisory Council. YAC’s mission is to:

  • Work with governmental systems to inspire change through:
    • Education
    • Advocacy
    • Training
    • Awareness
  • Improve the image of youth by addressing foster care issues


A few of the Wisconsin Youth Advisory Council's many accomplishments include:

The Healthy Relationships Booklet is a resource created for youth, by youth. The young people who created it wanted to help other young people understand how to navigate many different relationships.

Panel presentations and participation at numerous conferences:

  • Public Child Welfare Conference
  • Together for Children Conference
  • Youth Services Conference

Membership on various committees and councils:

  • Program Improvement Plan Committee
  • Secretary’s Child Welfare Committee
  • Milwaukee Partnership Council

Participation in advocacy and training opportunities:

  • The creation of a court improvement training video
  • Participation in Department of Children and Families Citizen Review Panel

Participation in national internship and youth board opportunities:

  • The National Foster Club All-Star internship
  • Congressional Foster Youth internship

Organizing the only youth-led Hands Around the Capitol event in the state.

Contact Information

  • If you have any questions or are interested in becoming a member of the council, send an e-mail to with the subject line “YAC" or contact the YAC Advisor identified for the county you currently live in.
  • If you are interested in following the Council and connecting with current and past members, check out the Wisconsin Youth Advisory Council Facebook page.

Youth Leadership Teams

Youth Leadership Teams (YLT) consists of young people ages 14 up to 21 who have personal experience with the youth justice system. As a team, the goal is to work with the Department of Children and Families on improving the youth justice system. As a team member, youth can:

  • Share their unique and valuable insights
  • Develop and strengthen their leadership skills
  • Work on a project of their choosing to improve the system

Youth with youth justice involvement who are interested in making a difference and developing their skills are welcome to join the YLT at any time. No leadership experience is needed. We welcome new members from anywhere in the state.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please e-mail


Youth Leadership Team Annual Reports review the projects and accomplishments of the teams, supported by their community partners, for an academic year.

Youth Leadership Team Annual Report 2016-2017

The Youth Vision for the Youth Justice System Report summarizes the perspectives of all four youth leadership teams on the current status of the youth justice system and their vision for the future.

The Advice Guidebook has advice for workers, judges, law enforcement and public defenders from youth who participated in the second year (2017-2018) of the Youth Leadership Teams. The guidebook includes input from 60 youths across the state.

They have also joined in panel presentations at:

  • The Bureau of Youth Services Conference
  • The Child Welfare and the Courts Conference
  • The Wisconsin Juvenile Detention Conference

Contact Information

If you have any questions or are interested in becoming a youth leader, send an e-mail to