• December 2021/January 2022
  • Vol. 22, No. 11

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Nine Components of an Ethical, Authentic Youth Advocacy Program

The Juvenile Law Center published a list of nine components required for a successful youth advocacy program. The components are based on the Juvenile Law Center's own youth advocacy program, which includes Juveniles for Justice, Youth Fostering Change, and the Youth Speakers Bureau. All components were developed through collaboration with youth advocates. 

 
The following are the nine key components:
  • Support and retention strategies based on adolescent development, trauma-informed practice, and equitable program management. Guiding principles of this component include understanding adolescent development and trauma and focusing on race, equity, and inclusion.
  • Highly trained staff with social work or human services backgrounds. Guiding principles of this component include adapting evidence-based ethical codes, using a macro approach to solutions, and recognizing personal biases.
  • Widespread support for the program at all levels of the organization. Guiding principles of this component include starting with a mission and vision, providing appropriate staffing, and fully integrating the program.
  • A focus on youth empowerment. Guiding principles of this component include engaging in systemic and personal advocacy and meeting youth where they are.
  • Support for strategic sharing of personal experience. Guiding principles of this component include preparing youth to tell their story, establish autonomy over their stories, and share their stories to encourage change not trauma.
  • Youth development through skill building. Guiding principles of this component include creating individualized skill-building plans, identifying implicit bias in skill development, and understanding that skills look different for everyone.
  • A wholistic approach to issue selection and campaign development. Guiding principles of this component include understanding the approach of a young advocate, selecting an advocacy topic, and building connection around an issue. 
  • Collaboration and partnerships to support program growth. Guiding principles of this component include engaging in networking and partnering with key stakeholders.
  • Program growth through assessment and evaluation. Guiding principles of this component include understanding that youth feedback is evaluative and compiling partner feedback.
For more information and to find detailed descriptions of the nine key components, read Building the Field of Ethical, Authentic, & Youth-Led Advocacy: Key Components of a Youth Advocacy Program.  
 

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