UM SSW The Institute  

Youth Engagement/Leadership and Positive Youth Development

The Institute has a commitment to promoting youth-guided systems and services as well as opportunities for youth engagement, leadership and positive youth development. Youth-guided care means that young people have the right to be empowered, educated, and given a decision-making role in the care of their own lives as well as the policies and procedures governing care in their organizations and/or communities. Youth and family involvement is a necessary component in all levels of systems work. It is imperative that as consumers of services, youth and their families play a directing role in and feel committed to their own well-being. Youth, their parents, and professionals need to be valued as equal partners in creating systemic change. In order to achieve authentic youth involvement, community and professional partners must accept that they need more than just youth input, and that young people must be actively engaged. Youth involvement not only enhances the positive development of young people, but it also reaches throughout the community and system of care. These are the kind of opportunities for youth that we need to develop, cultivate, and sustain within systems of care