What is the Missouri State Youth Advisory Board?

The Missouri State Youth Advisory Board (SYAB) is a board that represents all children and youth who are currently in, or were previously in, out-of-home placements. Board members are responsible for providing input on policy and procedure to the Children’s Division and Juvenile Court. Each year members also work together to decide what goals and activities they want to pursue for upcoming meetings.

The SYAB also works as a network by bringing back important information to the youth in their area by communicating with the Area Youth Advisory Board or another area, like the youth leadership community.

When was the SYAB established?

SYAB was established December 1992 with the belief that leadership opportunities are an important life skill and should be given to all youth in care.

Who can become a member?

Each member of the board is recommended to serve and is either currently in foster care or someone who has been placed out of their home (foster care, kinship placement, etc.). Board members are meant to represent the other youth in their area of the state. Each of the seven administrative areas is represented by up to four board members to make sure there is equal representation.

In addition, the SYAB may also have three non-voting, ex-officio members. These members must be a current or former foster care youth who has served at least one year as a board member or alternate within the last 3 years. The membership term is one year. Once you are a member of SYAB you must also follow specific guidelines to continue your membership.

How can I apply to be a member?

To be considered for membership, you must:

  • Be nominated by your local Area Youth Advisory Board or Chafee provider/TLP provider
  • Submit an application and two reference letters to your Chafee or TLP provider: one from your Chafee or TLP Provider and one from someone who works with you such as your case manager, juvenile officer, Guardian-Ad-Litem, or community member
  • Bring your application and reference letters to a SYAB meeting and the members will interview you

When does the SYAB meet?

Meetings are held quarterly and the Youth and Adult Empowerment and Leadership Conference is held every other year. Scheduled meeting dates:

  • September 23, 2023 – September 24, 2023 Hilton Garden Inn Columbia
  • November 4, 2023 – November 5, 2023 Capital Plaza Hotel Jefferson City
  • March 2, 2024 – March 3,2024 Capital Plaza Hotel Jefferson City
  • June 1, 2024 – June 2, 2024 Capital Plaza Hotel Jefferson City


If you have any questions, you can contact Laquisha Maxwell at Laquisha.Maxwell@dss.mo.gov, your local Older Youth Transition Specialist, or your Chafee agency.