SPEAKOUT Application


Are you interested in helping to create change in foster care policy? Do you have experience in the foster care system that you’re willing to use to help other youth in foster care? If so, consider applying to a youth advisory group that will provide input directly to VDSS.

SPEAKOUT (Strong Positive Educated Advocates Keen On Understanding the Truth) is for youth in foster care and alumni who are interested in using their voice to provide input on foster care regulations, policy, guidance, and practice concerns, while also building advocacy and leadership skills.

The group will ideally consist of 15-20 foster youth from across the state. It is expected that the group will meet several times a year to discuss issues and share ideas with VDSS. The meetings for the group will be held in various locations throughout the state. 

If you have any questions, please email speakout@dss.virginia.gov or contact Chauncey Strong or Em Parente:

Chauncey Strong, MSW
VDSS Youth Development Specialist
Chauncey.strong@dss.virginia.gov
(804) 229-2211

Em Parente
Foster Care & Family Engagement Program Manager
Em.Parente@dss.virginia.gov
(804) 726-7538