Supporting systems to better serve youth

What We Work For

We help youth-serving systems better support the needs and aspirations of young people, expand opportunities for them, and promote their well-being.

Adolescence is a formative developmental period for youth with lasting impacts on their futures. Unfortunately, youth in foster care, the juvenile justice system, and who have experienced homelessness are often involved with systems that are ill-prepared to meet their developmental needs.

Youth who come in contact with any of those systems require a holistic, cross-system approach to meeting their needs.

How We Do It

We collaborate with partner organizations and agencies who work closely with youth to increase the resources available to them and create supportive environments that can promote the well-being of all youth.

We work with system leaders, providers, youth, and community partners to change practices and policies that are harmful to youth. Our work celebrates and affirms young people and helps the systems with which they are involved to serve them in the most effective, sensitive, and meaningful ways possible.

Through policy and practice change, we work to ensure youth-serving systems have the resources to support and promote the well-being of involved youth while also empowering youth themselves to advocate for their own needs and communities.

We focus on improving youth systems, policies, and practices—and empowering youth to advocate for their needs and community.

Through our work we are actively:

Changing the narrative about young people facing challenges to focus on the strengths and positive support they have as young and resilient people.

Improving public systems by working with partner organizations and agencies to provide resources and create supportive environments for all youth.

Working with community partners to provide training, resources, and assistance to people who work most closely with youth, including case workers, foster parents, youth workers, and probation and police officers.

Mobilizing and empowering youth to become leaders in their communities and within public systems to advocate for policies and programs that reflect what they need to succeed and change.

Influencing national and state-wide policies to reflect the latest research in adolescent development, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to create strategic directions, skilled staff, and model programs that best support the needs of young people.

Our work has resulted in improved outcomes for youth, especially those involved in public systems, as a result of agencies and systems that:

  • Emphasizing a two generation approach for working with young people.
  • Increasing capacity to collect and use disaggregated data on race, ethnicity, and SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression).
  • Building protective and promotive factors rather than focusing primarily on reducing risks.
  • Training workers on youth development, trauma, and the protective and promotive factors associated with youth well-being.