Youth and Young Adult Leadership and Partnership

Youth engagement is a key component in implementing positive system transformation and youth-driven care. Youth voice is a key value of the Systems of Care philosophy. Creating intentional space for youth at all levels is an important and valuable way to ensure that youth are true partners in advancing and transforming systems of care.

Aligning with youth and young adults in this way –- through meaningful integration of their voice and experience — not only helps to ensure that services and supports are engaging, developmentally appropriate and useful to young people. It also promotes youth and young adult development and strengthens youth-adult partnerships throughout the community.

System of Care communities are responsible for ensuring youth voice is at the table, from the planning process to implementation to evaluation.


Communities can take steps toward this goal by:

  • Engaging young adults to inform and direct planning process
  • Identifying and partnering with youth advocacy organizations
  • Developing youth advisory positions
  • Creating intentional opportunities to listen to youth
  • Modeling youth-adult partnership at every level
  • Ensuring youth voice is present in feedback loops, constant quality improvement (CQI) processes and evaluation
  • Providing leadership and advocacy training to youth
  • Developing and supporting sustainable youth organizations
  • Following a youth-guided and youth-driven process

Youth M.O.V.E. National (YMN) is a youth-driven advocacy organization that works to unite and support the voices and causes of youth across the country, and to promote young people’s efforts to create positive systems change. YMN provides support and technical assistance to Youth M.O.V.E. chapters in 38 states and tribes across the country, and to agencies, organizations and systems working to support young people’s participation in their work.