Texas Bar Foundation funding will support development of materials on partnering with youth

AUSTIN – Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) has received a one-year, $6,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation, which will be used to launch the “My Voice Matters” project to help legal professionals better understand the importance of giving children and youth a voice in the child welfare system. The funds will go toward the development of training materials that demonstrate the power of youth voice in the court room and in other settings, and its importance for helping children and youth heal from the trauma they have experienced.

“More and more, service providers are recognizing young people as resources in their own development rather than as problems to be fixed,” said Christine Gendron, executive director of TNOYS. “The courts and legal professionals play critical roles in the child welfare continuum and it’s important that youth have opportunities to have a voice, including in the courtroom, regarding what happens to them. It’s not fair to remove a child from his or her home, school, and community and then subsequently move that child from placement to placement without giving him or her an opportunity to influence those placement decisions. We’re grateful to the Texas Bar Foundation for helping us strengthen youth voice in the child welfare system.”

Youth voice requires a shift in thinking that challenges professionals to look at young people differently and as valued partners who can offer input into decisions impacting their own lives, as well as larger decisions about the child welfare system that will impact other youth. TNOYS has led a number of collaborative efforts to encourage youth voice, including the Recovery Through Participation project in Central Texas and the Harris Transition Coalition in the Houston area. “My Voice Matters” will take these important concepts and resources to the court room.

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $17 million in grants to law related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably funded bar foundation.

About Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS)

For more than 30 years, TNOYS has been the leading organization working to enhance services for Texas youth who are homeless, in foster care, or at risk, and to support the providers who care for them. The organization takes a comprehensive systems change approach to strengthen critical services for youth and families, focusing on policy advocacy, training and program development for providers, and youth engagement. To learn more, visit