Youth Participation and Advocacy The Centre is committed to ethical youth participation. As the peak body for child and family services, we work alongside young people to provide best practice advice to the sector and beyond. What does ethical participation look like? Young people must be meaningfully engaged with organisations as experts and colleaguesAppropriate training, guidance and support should be providedYoung people must receive fair payment for their time and expertisePrograms or opportunities are inclusive and accessible, with a strong focus on intersectionality and a diversity of viewsYoung people must have the space to be more than just their stories or backgrounds. It is vital to move beyond ‘story’ as a sole tool of empowerment and advocacyThe physical, emotional, religious and cultural safety of engaged young people must be prioritisedOngoing effective communication and an open line of dialogue between an organisation and young person must occurOrganisations must ensure that young people receive feedback on the outcomes of projects, events or strategies that they work onOrganisations should also seek feedback from young people on process and outcomes and constantly review participation approaches internally It is vital for community sector organisations to recognise their privilege and power, and to carefully consider their motivations and goals when engaging young people. It is also integral that young people are provided with opportunities or encouraged to seek out a wide range of professional pathways – both within and outside of community sectors. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to youth participation, and the journey to ethical and meaningful engagement is rarely straightforward or without hurdles. The Centre is working alongside member organisations and colleagues across the community to develop and advise on best practice, and to constantly update our own approach. ~ During 2018-19, the Centre ran a Young Leaders Program, working with young people who spent time in the out-of-home care system. Participants were contracted by the Centre to engage in policy, advocacy and campaigning work, provide advice on and get involved in sector projects, and to receive support and mentoring as they worked towards their professional and educational goals. The program combined group workshops with one-on-one mentoring, with the key goal of supporting young people to develop their professional skills and build on individual strengths. It was led by and for the participants.