Youth Participation and Youth Advocacy

Ethical Participation

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.

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.

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.

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.

Young people must be meaningfully engaged with organisations as experts and colleagues

Appropriate training, guidance and support should be provided

The physical, emotional, religious and cultural safety of engaged young people must be prioritised

Organisations must ensure that young people receive feedback on the outcomes of projects, events or strategies that they work on

Ongoing effective communication and an open line of dialogue between an organisation and young person must occur

Young 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 advocacy

Young people must receive fair payment for their time and expertise

Programs or opportunities are inclusive and accessible, with a strong focus on intersectionality and a diversity of views

Organisations should also seek feedback from young people on process and outcomes and constantly review participation approaches internally

The Young Leaders Collective was developed as part of the Centre’s commitment to ethical youth participation and advocacy, reflecting our vision for a world where young people always get a seat at the table.

Piloted in 2018-19 with five young leaders with thanks to funding from Gandel Philanthropy, in 2020 the Young Leaders Collective has expanded with six young people aged 18-24 working as consultants at the Centre while receiving ongoing training, mentorship and support to build their professional and leadership skills. Meeting each week, the Young Leaders will be working on campaigns, communications and events, using their unique perspective and expertise to inform best practice in youth participation and advocacy within the Centre and the broader sector.

As part of the YLC, the Centre will also be running monthly skills workshops and a weekly youth co-working space which are free and open to all young people aged 18-24

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