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Youth Power, Parent Power

Mobilizing young people and families to wield their collective power for social change

What We Work For

Expectant and parenting young people are the best experts on what they, their children, and families need to succeed and thrive.

The Youth Power, Parent Power initiative mobilizes the collective action of expectant and parenting young people, researchers, public systems leaders, advocates, community leaders, and youth serving professionals to promote equity and justice for all young people and young families.

Adolescent parents face multiple barriers balancing their own transition to adulthood with raising a child. For young people involved with public systems, the challenges are even greater and the resources available to help are frequently scarce. Disparities remain for LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous expectant and parenting young people. Youth Power, Parent Power is intentional about disrupting and replacing harmful narratives, structural racism, and bias that create barriers for expectant and parenting youth, their children, and families. 

How We Do It

Our work is driven by the leadership of expectant and parenting young people from communities across the country.  All our efforts are either co-designed or entirely led by them. Youth Power, Parent Power works with public systems and communities, national networks, and other partners, with a focus in the following areas:

  • Multi-generational strategies for supporting the dual transition of young parents to adulthood and parenthood;
  • Sexual and reproductive health and justice;
  • Eradicating the surveillance and policing of expectant and parenting young people who are involved with public systems;
  • Affirming young fatherhood engagement and support; and
  • Promoting young people’s access to accurate information and their rights.

Youth Power, Parent Power mobilizes the collective action of expectant and parenting young people, researchers, system leaders, advocates, community leaders, and youth serving professionals for the promotion of equity and justice. We partner with a group of young parent leaders from communities across the country to plan and lead the initiative’s strategies.

We employ:

  • An equity-centered approach. Incorporate CSSP’s Anti-Racist Intersectional Frame in all aspects of our work. Promoting policies and practices that are explicit in achieving equity and justice.
  • Sharing power with lived experience experts. Ask, listen, prioritize, and partner with expectant and parenting youth to take action based on their recommendations.
  • A multi-generational approach. Policies and practices are responsive to three generations including the adolescent parents, their young children, and the other adults who care for and support them.
  • Tools that are developmentally driven. Policies and practices are informed by principles of healthy adolescent brain development, positive youth development, and early childhood development.
  • Resources that are trauma-informed and healing centered. Policies and practices recognize the impact of trauma on development and incorporate strategies for screening, addressing trauma symptoms, and supporting and promoting healing.
  • A focus on our Protective and Promotive Factors. Policies and practices create opportunities that support well-being, healthy development, and strengthen young families.
  • Results-based and learning and accountability driven. Policies and practices incorporate strategies for data collection, analysis, and tracking of results, as well as generating new knowledge for the field.

Examples of Activities

  • Bringing together a group of expectant and parenting young leaders from across the country to collaborate, advocate, and transform standards of care and advance equity and justice;
  • Helping public systems and community service providers implement best policies, practices, services, and training of staff, that are aligned with what the research indicates expectant and parenting youth, their children, and families need to succeed and thrive;
  • Curating, translating, and disseminating knowledge, best practice, resources, and innovative ideas;
  • Developing and using training curriculum and materials for system and community leaders, youth serving staff, and expectant and parenting youth; and
  • Convening cross-national workgroups for peer-to-peer learning and capacity building

Brighter Futures is a multigenerational, cross-sector network led by young parents with lived experience in foster care and allies working towards abolishing oppressive policies and practices such as the surveillance and policing of young parents with lived experience in foster care, and creating communities within New York City where young parents, their children, and families are supported and have what they need to heal, succeed, and thrive.

Our network is led by a diverse group of parent leaders representing various intersecting identities and include lawyers and social workers from legal agencies representing both children and parents; staff from the New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services; community-based organizations, such as CASA-NYC and The Door; and representatives from other New York city agencies including the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Department of Education.

Brighter Futures was formed in 2018. That year, Rise, an organization by and for parents impacted by the child welfare system, published “Where I Come From Doesn’t Determine Where I Will Go: A Guide to Partnering With Parents to Break the Intergenerational Cycle of Foster Care Placement.” The guide offered recommendations by parents with lived experience in foster care and the group was formed in order to turn those recommendations into the changes they want to see in their communities.

If you would like to join the Brighter Futures Workgroup, please contact Fatima Kane:

Brighter Futures Workgroup Member Organizations

Brighter Futures Workgroup Parent Committee Members

  • Dominique Arrington
  • Jerry Calderon
  • Nancy Fortunato
  • Isaiah Burrell
  • Krystal Morales
  • TyAsia Nicholson
  • Muhchinu Rahman
  • Ashly Hines
  • Jonathan DeJesus
  • Nathali Feliz

Thank you to all the members of the Brighter Futures Workgroup for your time and contributions.

Know Your Rights, Know Your Power: A Website for Young Parents in Foster Care

A project by young parents with lived experience in foster care and the Brighter Futures Workgroup that provides information, resources, and tools for youth and young parents currently or previously in foster care, and the professionals and advocates who support them. This is a great tool for young people in care to know their rights, feel empowered, and advocate for themselves and their families.  The website is listed as a resource on the Child Welfare Information Gateway and includes tools developed by young parents, articles, and audio clips where they share their experiences and a range of information from:

  • Rights when aging out of care;
  • Sexual and reproductive health rights;
  • Rights as an expecting and parenting youth;
  • Rights during a CPS investigation; and
  • Worksheets on accessing concrete supports, identifying a medical provider, co-parenting advice and financial management tips.

Our Experts

Fatoumata Kane

Fatoumata “Fatima” Kane

Program Analyst
She, Her, Hers
Lisa Mishraky Javier 23

Lisa Mishraky-Javier

Senior Associate
She, Her, Hers