Connected Youth Initiative

Systems Strategies

Older youth stakeholders participate in various statewide and national networks; working towards strengthening the older youth system in Nebraska: 

  • Bring Up Nebraska Thriving Families Work Groups 
  • Fostering Achievement Nebraska (FAN): higher education and training access network 
  • Financial Capability & Poverty Prevention Work Group: financial education network 
  • Youth Leadership and Engagement Work Group 
  • Older Youth Statewide Task Force 
  • Community Response/Central Navigation Partners Statewide Network 
  • Nebraska Sex Trafficking Action Team (NSTAT) 
  • Fostering Academic Achievement Nationwide (FAAN) 
  • Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) Learning Community 
  • Youth Policy Consortium 

If you are interested in participating in any of these systems change or youth policy efforts, please contact Sara Riffel, Vice President of Connected Youth Initiative.

 

Policy

Our goal, through policy and advocacy efforts, is that Nebraska policy makers, state agencies, community leaders, and young people co-create and strengthen an older youth system that values and actively supports prevention and upward mobility for all young people. 

Key Older Youth Policy Implementation: 

  • LB216: Extended Foster Care & Establishment of Bridge to Independence (B2i) - Signed by Nebraska Governor Heineman in 2013, this legislation provides state funding for independent living services, foster family reimbursement, medical insurance, housing vouchers and case management for youth leaving care to the age of 21. Now implemented, youth in Nebraska between 19 and 21 have ongoing support while they finish high school, get established in college or enjoy employment. The goal is to set young people up for success and help them thrive. The passage of this legislation was a result of combined efforts from passionate Nebraska Youth Leaders, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, and committed advocates at Nebraska Appleseed.  

 

Advocacy

Connected Youth Initiative supports young people in their own advocacy journey. Young people involved in CYI participate in paid state and national leadership opportunities, including: 

  • Project Everlast
  • Legislative Days: multi-day annual event that educates young people about the legislative process and helps them build skills in advocacy so that they feel empowered to lift up their voice about laws and policies based on their lived experiences. 
  • Nebraska Children Youth Advisory Board 
  • Probation Advisory Council 
  • Governor’s Youth Advisory Council (GYAC) 
  • YHDP Youth Advisory Board 
  • LEAP Ambassador Program 
  • System of Care Leadership Council 
  • Leadership Retreats 
  • Camp Catch-Up 
  • Social Media Influencer paid positions 
  • Caregiver and Youth Citizen Review Panels 
  • Town Halls and Youth Panels 
  • Youth Policy Consortium internships and fellowships 
  • CYI Fellows Program 
  • Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Young Fellows Program 
  • Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential Young Fellow Program 

Young adult changemakers interested in advocacy opportunities may contact Lincoln Arneal, Director of Leadership and Engagement.  

The electronic advocate stipend and honorarium form can be found here.

 

Training and Capacity-Building

Connected Youth Initiative promotes the growth and capacity-building of older youth providers, partners, and practitioners statewide. Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and/or CYI partners offer training and technical assistance for partners in the following frameworks best practices: 

  • Youth Thrive™ and Families Thrive 
  • Your Money, Your Goals 
  • Reaching Teens 
  • Back on Track™ to College 
  • Positive Youth Development 
  • Young Adult Speaker’s Bureau 
  • Askable Adults Matter® 
  • Foster Youth/Foster Parent Cooperative Trainings: 
    • De-escalation  
    • Protective & Promotive Factors 
    • College Planning & Financial Aid 
    • Trade Career Programs 
    • Budgeting & Money Management 
    • Jump Start! Resume Workshop 
    • Healthy Relationships 
    • Consent 
    • Anti-Trafficking 
  • Collective Impact 
  • Speaker’s Bureau 
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