Frequently Asked Questions - AMP | Achieving Maximum Potential

Frequently Asked Questions


What is AMP?

AMP stands for ACHIEVING MAXIMUM POTENTIAL which is the Iowa Foster Care Youth Council.  There are 12 AMP councils across Iowa and meetings are youth driven.  Council meetings are offered twice per month and youth learn valuable life skills for healthy transitions into adulthood, learn about local resources, and socialize while in a supportive and well-supervised environment of youth with similar experiences. AMP also offers valuable leadership opportunities, service learning projects through youth/adult partnerships in the community, speaking opportunities for youth, educational/vocational assistance, peer-to-peer understanding, support and encouragement. 

Who can attend AMP?

AMP members are made up of youth aged 13-23 who are currently or who have ever been in an out-of-home placement (foster, adoptive, kinship, shelter, residential, treatment or group care). AMP meetings are a time for youth to gain knowledge about living on their own and meet new friends. Not sure if AMP is for you??? Join us for our next meeting to find out- we are always looking for new faces and new energy!

What do AMP members do?

AMP involves young people as advocates for themselves and as a voice for system-level improvements in child welfare policies and practices. Through supportive productive partnerships with adults, youth advocate for making foster care more responsive and effective.

Members of AMP also encourage others to open their homes to teens in foster care, or to adopt. AMP youth educate legislators, child welfare professionals, juvenile court representatives, foster parents and the public about foster care and adoption from a youth perspective.

Where is the closest AMP council?   

You will find the location of all AMP councils on the AMP website.  /en/amp_near_you/statewide_amp_council_contact_flyer/

Each city will give the council meeting location; time the meeting occurs and contact information for the council facilitator (in case you need a ride!). 

What happens during a “council meeting”?

  • Everyone enjoys a snack and has some social time – meet & greet
  • We go around the room and give “Highs & Lows” from the past week
  • Youth chose the topics for meetings or sometimes present topics
  • We plan activities & events outside AMP
  • Be with other teens who are going through the same things you are
  • Support each other
  • AMP members say that AMP feels like a second family!

What kinds of things do youth learn at AMP?

The possibilities are endless but here a few….

  • Cooking (easy, low cost meals and snacks)
  • Banking (how to open checking/saving accounts plus credit card management)
  • Healthy relationships (friends, family & significant others)
  • How to rent an apartment
  • Prepare for a job interview
  • Apply for college student aid & scholarships
  • Speaker training (learn to speak in public and tell your story)
  • Teamwork skills
  • Study skills
  • Preparing your taxes
  • Living in a budget
  • Purchasing a used car
  • Insurance

Is AMP just learning or are there fun things too?

AMP is all about learning in a fun way!  We like to celebrate holidays, birthdays, graduations and go to camp!  Each AMP council participates in local events to introduce youth to resources in their local community. AMP has an annual state conference called Plugged In & Charging where we learn life skills needed for transition to adulthood.  We also do mini conferences at community colleges across Iowa to experience life at community college, sleep in the dorms, take college classes and eat at food service!  AMP youth enjoy summer camp for one week each year and mini-camps which consist of spending a Saturday of fun with AMP members from all over Iowa!  The most fun is making life-long friends and chatting on Facebook!

How do I become an AMP member?

Decide to attend an AMP council meeting and come!  We have an application you can fill out at your first meeting; it asks what you like to do.  AMP is designed to be very flexible!  We understand that teenage life is busy; so if you work or do sports, it may be hard to attend council meetings.  You are welcome to attend meetings and events whenever your schedule permits!  If you’re super busy, be a part of the AMP Facebook and stay connected through the AMP website.  Meetings and events are posted to both so you can plan when to attend!

Give AMP a chance!

We know that attending a group for the first time can be awkward…..

But I promise you that AMP teens, facilitators and volunteers are very welcoming and will make you feel comfortable right away!  There are no judgements made, everyone is struggling with something and we are here to help you get through it!  So take that first step and join us today!

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