A new digital toolkit from the Juvenile Law Center aims to help people build or strengthen youth advocacy programs.
The toolkit provides resources to help organizations collaborate with youth, center their voices and experience, and sustain a youth-led program. The guidance offered is based on lessons learned during the 15-year history of the Juvenile Law Center’s Youth Advocacy Program.
Youth advocacy has become increasingly instrumental in policy reform efforts, Cathy Moffa, senior program manager for the law center’s Youth Advocacy Program, said in a press release announcing the toolkit. The toolkit can serve as a roadmap for professionals working with youth to help ensure they are supported and protected from being retraumatized in the advocacy process.
Juvenile Law Center supports two youth advocacy programs for older teens and young adults who have experience in the child welfare and justice systems. The youth-led groups identify one focus area each year, develop advocacy strategies to address it and craft reform roadmaps. Juvenile Law Center professionals offer support throughout the process and ensure the youth develop the skills to make their advocacy efforts effective.
The toolkit resources include sample policies and protocols that organizations can use to structure a youth advocacy program, such as policies on paying youth for their time and guidelines for conducting check-ins to ensure youth advocates are receiving all the support they need. The toolkit also offers informative anecdotes and reflections from youth sharing their experiences within advocacy groups, and staff experts who are available for questions and interviews.
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