In May, the FSS Youth Advisory Council welcomed visitors from Minnesota for collaboration, inspiration and fun. Members of the Youth Leadership Council, supported by Minnesota YMCA, visited Jacksonville to present at the Daniel Memorial Conference. The FSS council attended to hear more about the work being done to advocate for youth in foster care across the country.

The FSS Youth Advisory Council also played hosts for a night out in Jacksonville, starting with shared problem-solving at an escape room. It was a great opportunity for these two groups to keep learning how to work with those who think differently to make big solutions. Following the escape room, the group enjoyed dinner together, having the best table in the (mobile) house at Ida Claire, a restaurant built inside an AirStream!

Over dinner, the Minnesota delegation shared some of the insights they would present at the conference — a presentation called “Culture is Home” about how the connection to their individual cultures while in care allowed them to feel seen, understood and rooted in who they are. Hearing insights into the Ojibwe and Roma traditions and cultures was wonderful for our Florida group as they offered insight to their roots and cultural traditions.

“It was great to hear from people outside our state on the issues they feel that need to be covered for those in care, and to hear what they are trying to do over their state,” Kelsey Hartigan, FSS Youth Advisory Council Chair, said of the exchange, adding that learning the similarities and diversities between the groups offered great personal insight.

The FSS Youth Advisory Council collaborates with workers in the field to advocate for change for youth in foster care. This year they have set their goals to increase awareness of the council and work to change the perspective about youth in the system of care. To learn more or join the FSS Youth Advisory Council, email For media inquiries, email