Friend of Youth in Care Award

Each year the award is presented to a caring adult who has exhibited leadership on behalf of youth in foster care. Youth in foster care face many challenges. Caring adults can assist youth who are facing these challenges by providing support, advocacy and friendship. Additionally, there are those people who come up with creative solutions to make the system better for all youth in care. They deserve our thanks.

The Friend of Youth in Care Award will go to those adults who are willing to:


  1. Make a commitment to youth in care

  2. Advocate for youth in care

  3. Be leaders on behalf of youth in care

  4. Be a positive role model for youth in care

Friend of Youth in Care Awardees
New Beginnings

Whether a young person is facing a night on the streets for the very first time or has been surviving on their own for years, New Beginnings is there to help, by providing vulnerable children, teens, and adults with the opportunities for safety, connection, and growth that all people need to thrive. New Beginnings serves youth who are in crisis through several programs including emergency shelter, a transitional living program, community and outreach services, and HIV prevention, research & training. New Beginnings supports youth to learn the skills needed for independence, including ensuring youth learn and practice daily living chores, access to house-hold supplies, as well as supporting life long connections by helping to reunify families. Some youth who have utilized the services and supports that New Beginnings provides have shared that “they were a positive influence in my life when I needed it. I felt safe when I was there, and the staff was supportive and amazing.”

For More information on New Beginnings please visit

New England Youth Coalition (NEYC)

This year’s award recipient is the New England Youth Coalition (NEYC) a youth led and adult supported collaboration that works together to better the quality of life for youth that are involved with the foster care system through education, advocacy, and improvement of policy and practice. NEYC has been active since 2008 and is supported by and works closely with child welfare Commissioners and Directors in each of the New England States.
Most recently, NEYC was instrumental in supporting states to implement the idea of “Normalcy” for youth in foster care and developed the Normalcy Youth in Care Bill of Rights, and a Normalcy toolkit for youth in care. The Normalcy toolkit is also used to assist states to develop the policies and practices needed to better support youth in care to participate in the activities that are normal and important for teens. There have been a number of NEYC participants from Maine who were part of creating these important resources.

Grace Hilliard-Koshinsky, Program Manager for NEYC spends a great deal of time--behind the scenes--helping youth to develop their facilitation and leadership skills. Through Grace’s support, mentoring, and feedback, the NEYC has developed amazing youth leaders and policies and resources for child welfare in New England.

For More information on NEYC please visit

Past FYIC Award Recipients::


2017: Penthea Burns

2016: A Place Called H.O.M.E.

2015: Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG)

2014: Representative Seth Berry & Senator Gratwick
2013: Laurie Davis
2012: Jobs for Maine’s Graduates
2011: Dianna Walters
2010: William R. Bradford, II
2009: Bette Hoxie
2008: James Siragousa
2007: Bobby Strauss
2006: Lucky Hollander, Susan Verrill, Susan Kimball, Linda Guiggey
2005: Heidi Krieger
2004: Marty Zanghi & the Maine Legislative Youth Council
2003: Karen Westburg & Maddy Thibeault
2002: Hugh Sipowicz & Sonya Gerry
2001: Bill Dickenson
2000: Representative Michael Brennan

Youth Leadership Advisory Team (YLAT)

YLAT is a joint project between Maine’s Youth in Foster Care, The Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and the Muskie School at University of Southern Maine. YLAT is committed to improving the short-term and long-term outcomes for youth who are or have been in foster care.

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YLAT, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, PO Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300, phone: 207-780-5861