Making Public Policy

The levers of public policy aren’t often considered when it comes to youth involvement and youth voice. Sure, there is a group of America’s Youth Councils that is rallying the nation’s youth councils to unite and take action and everything – and I’m with them 100%. But honestly, what this movement needs are strategic agendas that are designed to secure actual support from actual politicians in order to foster actual change.

Governments at all levels across the US can create changes in law, rules and regulations in order to promote youth voice and youth involvement. Those policy changes could look like this:

  • Local, county, regional, state, and federal governments mandated to create policies that ensure youth civic engagement;
  • Lower the federal voting age from 18 to 12;
  • All federal agencies that affect young people must create an Office of Student Engagement to foster youth involvement in the management, evaluation, programs, planning, research and decision-making of programs affecting them;
  • Eliminate all age restrictions on public office;
  • Create youth-adult partnership councils for all substantive public offices, including state governors, city councils, and more.
These are just simple ideas. More complex governmental change strategies must be designed to meet the realistic and practical goals of government, in order for advocates to successfully navigate the complex inner workings of democratic government. Making public policy is the one step of many to re-envision the roles of young people throughout society. 
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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