Whether marching to advocate for their rights, being active members of their families, or organizing to impact change, youth voice is powerful. How do agencies amplify and use that voice?
Creating a youth guided system of care leads to more effective and accessible services and supports. Youth guided organizations create safe environments that enable young people to gain self-sustainability in accordance with the cultures and beliefs with which they identify. A youth guided approach recognizes that there is a continuum of power that should be shared with young people based on their understanding and maturity in a strengths-based change process.
Youth engagement is more than just listening to what youth are saying about an agency’s programs. It’s about creating a space where youth feel safe to share their true thoughts, and know their ideas will not only be heard but put into policy and practice.
Youth engagement is “the result when young people are involved in responsible, challenging actions to create positive social change.” Youth have the power to change the children’s mental health system.
The dimensions of youth engagement can be broken down into four parts: