Institutionalizing Youth Voice

Becoming part of a system, integrating throughout a culture and tying together broad resources can ensure that Youth Voice is sustainable. That process is called institutionalization, and it represents the process of making a concept, social role, values, norms or behaviors part of an organization, social system or society. We need nothing less than to see that effort as essential to Youth Voice. The following are steps that groups, organizations, and communities can use as a guide to institutionalize Youth Voice.
Organizations will have…
  • Processes to carry out the policies that support the objectives of goals of Youth Voice;
  • Policies supporting Youth Voice activities have been published in a document available to youth, adult allies, youth workers, government officials, politicians and families;
  • Data related to Youth Voice as it affects the young people involved, their peers, adult allies, and the larger community is regularly collected/
  • Budgets include line items that support the implementation of Youth Voice activities;
  • Regular training that orients new youth participants and adults and strengthens existing youth and adult allies’ skills, knowledge and commitment to Youth Voice;
  • Reporting procedures to ensure the Youth Voice coordinator reports to a high-level administrator and the position is incorporated into the organizational chart;
  • Ongoing support for the Youth Voice program in order to ensure survival after a significant change of leadership among youth, adult allies and within the group, organization and/or community;
  • Community connections that engage other groups, organizations and/or communities in designing, implementing, sustaining and/or evaluating their Youth Voice activities through conferences, workshops and/or local outreach.
These are initial steps that have shown are the most effective ways to institutionalize Youth Voice.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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