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My Life: Stories from Youth in Allegheny County’s Child Welfare System

Children in foster care

Young adults who live in foster care face many challenges, particularly as they transition from out-of-home placement to independence. Given the opportunity, youth in the child welfare system offer great insights about how their lives were shaped by the services they received and by the absence of needed services. DHS tapped into this valuable resource and created My Life. 

My Life Video 

Through unscripted interviews with their peers, the My Life video explores the personal experiences of youth who spent part of their lives in the Allegheny County foster care system. This DHS-sponsored project was developed to add youth voices to discussions about how to improve services in the child welfare system. While the video focuses primarily on transition-aged youth, topics cover a wide range including how these individuals entered the system and their varying experiences with out-of-home placement. 

To request a copy of the video, please send an inquiry including your name, organization, and intended use for the video to MyLife@AlleghenyCounty.US. 

pdf.gif My Life Discussion Guide 

The My Life video may be supplemented with the My Life discussion guide. The guide is divided into four sections - entering the system, in placement, in transition and improving the system. Each section summarizes key issues raised by the youth.  It also provides discussion questions designed to elicit conversation among youths as well as service providers about how the values and experiences described by youth can be used to inform policy design and enhance case practice within the child welfare system. 

For more information, please refer to the My Life discussion guide or submit questions to MyLife@AlleghenyCounty.US.