This report examines how the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative® approaches youth engagement. It draws on more than 100 survey and interview responses across four sites to explore what authentically engaging youth looks like and how it benefits youth. It also shares recommendations for expanding the practice.
A powerful option for youth-serving organizations and systems
Findings & Stats
Youth and staff identified four components that make youth engagement authentic: 1) youth-adult partnerships; 2) preparation; 3) opportunities; and 4) support.
Youth engagement has influenced changes in policy and practice, including extending foster care, addressing barriers to Medicaid coverage, and increasing living allowances for expectant and parenting youth.
Giving Youth Voices Value
Systems and organizations should empower young people to implement their ideas and see themselves as change agents, including participating in activities that involve evaluation, policy advocacy and practice improvements.
Statements & Quotations
Accessing existing community resources, expanding and deepening community support, and cultivating community champions for young people transitioning from foster care are key in expanding the capacity of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.
Youth-adult partnerships were universally reported as successful across sites. In addition, youth empowerment, agency, and voice were seen as successes, benefitting both youth as they transition, and policy and practice.
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