Empowerment Programming

Empowering Self Conference (ESC) - Fall 2024

Empowering Self Conference (ESC) – Fall 2024: This is a conference for children in foster care which will address various aspects of their well-being, education, support systems, and future prospects. Here’s a comprehensive outline of what this conference will include:


As young people prepare to transition out of foster care may not have family support and direction. The Empowering Self Conference offers systematic learning about life skills, resources, and support networks for adulthood.  These conferences provide unified information on housing, education, employment, healthcare, financial literacy, and other important transition themes.

ESC Conference Programming:

Empowerment and Advocacy Workshops: Workshops focused on empowering foster care children to advocate for their rights, express their needs, and navigate the foster care system effectively.

Sessions on self-advocacy skills, including communication strategies, assertiveness training, and understanding legal rights.

Educational Support and Enrichment Programs: Workshops and seminars aimed at addressing the unique educational challenges faced by foster care children, such as academic instability, school transitions, and educational gaps.

Sessions on accessing educational resources, advocating for special education services, and overcoming barriers to academic success.

Mental Health & Resilience Workshop: Training sessions on trauma-informed care approaches for educators, caregivers, and service providers working with foster care children.

Access to mental health and resilience professionals and resources for foster care children and their caregivers, including counseling services, support groups, and crisis intervention.

Transition Planning and Life Skills Development: Workshops focused on transition planning and life skills development for older foster care youth approaching emancipation or aging out of the system.

Sessions on independent living skills, such as budgeting, employment readiness, housing options, and accessing community resources. Opportunities for foster care youth to connect with mentors, role models, and professionals who can provide guidance and support in navigating adulthood.

Cultural Competence and Identity Affirmation: Workshops on promoting cultural identity affirmation, self-esteem, and positive racial and ethnic identity development among foster care youth.

Opportunities for foster care children to engage in cultural enrichment activities, celebrate their heritage, and connect with culturally affirming communities.

Legal and Advocacy Services: Legal clinics and information sessions on foster care laws, rights, and legal processes, including child welfare policies, court proceedings, and permanency planning.

Access to legal advocacy services and resources for foster care children and their caregivers, including legal aid organizations, pro bono attorneys, and child advocacy centers.

Peer Support and Networking Opportunities: Peer support groups and networking opportunities for foster care children to connect with peers who share similar experiences, challenges, and goals.

Mentoring programs pairing foster care youth with older peers or adults who have successfully transitioned from foster care to adulthood. Social activities and recreational opportunities for foster care children to build friendships, develop social skills, and experience a sense of belonging.

Family Engagement and Reunification Support:

Workshops and counseling services aimed at supporting family engagement, reunification efforts, and healthy family relationships for foster care children and their birth families.

Training sessions for foster parents and caregivers on supporting family reunification, maintaining connections with birth families, and promoting family stability.

Resource Fair and Information Exchange: Resource fair featuring exhibitors, service providers, and community organizations offering a range of support services, resources, and opportunities for foster care children and their caregivers.

Information exchange sessions where attendees can learn about available resources, programs, and services in their local communities and connect with relevant organizations and agencies.

Youth Leadership and Advocacy Opportunities: Opportunities for foster care youth to participate in youth leadership development programs, advocacy initiatives, and civic engagement activities.

Workshops on leadership skills, public speaking, community organizing, and youth-led advocacy campaigns to empower foster care youth to become agents of change in their communities.

By addressing these critical areas, a conference for foster care children can provide valuable support, resources, and opportunities to enhance their well-being, education, and future prospects, empowering them to thrive despite the challenges they may face.

Empowerment & Resilience Curriculum – Fall 2024: Structured after-school educational program designed to foster personal empowerment, resilience, and well-being among participants. This curriculum incorporates a variety of lessons, activities, and exercises aimed at building self-confidence, coping skills, problem-solving abilities, and a sense of agency in navigating life’s challenges and adversities.


Ann S. Masten, PhD, is a psychologist at the University of Minnesota. She has spent 40 years exploring this topic and currently directs the Project Competence program, which focuses on risk and resilience. According to her, the field has just recently begun to focus on resilience as a system. “An individual’s resilience is contingent upon accessing resources from various systems,” such as nurturing parents or primary caregivers, personal relationships with other caring adults, and deep friendships with peers. They also need systems that go beyond the family unit, such as high-performing educational institutions and supportive communities, as well as programming that empowers them to build factors that contribute to resilience from within, including skills like self-efficacy, self-esteem, critical thinking, self-discipline, emotional regulation, self-efficacy (belief in one’s own abilities) and self-esteem (desire for success). 

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