Youth & Family Voice - Why It Matters


What is Youth & Family Voice?

Youth & Family Voice refers to the ideas, opinions, experiences, perspectives, attitudes, knowledge, actions, and involvement of young people or caregivers – and their meaningful inclusion in the creation and implementation of programs, policies and practice.​

Why is Youth & Family Voice important?

Parents and youth provide an authentic perspective that contribute to a deeper and richer understanding of mental health needs and how the system works for families. Organizations and agencies should listen to those most impacted to ensure services and programs are equitable and effective.

Examples of Youth & Family Voice

Youth & Family Voice starts with sharing power. Sharing power allows youth and families to meaningfully participate in the planning, implementation, and evaluation process of system and organization level initiatives.

Involving lived experience can look different from one organization to another. There are different levels to how an organization can incorporate lived experience:

Partnership - Equal Power, Input, and Investment in Mutually Agreed Upon Outcomes: 

Lived Expert Co-Chair · Community Advisory Board · Lived Expert Grant Reviewer​

Involvement - Youth & Families Contribute to Project or Initiative: 

Workgroups · Committees · Lived Expert Panel   

Engagement - Sporadic Consultation with Youth & Families:

Focus Groups · Surveys · Public Hearings · Public Comment

​Dig Deeper

See how your organization can meaningfully elevate Youth and Family Voice at our How To Elevate​ page. 

Learn about the Office of Children's Mental Health Parent and Young Adult Lived Experience Partners​. 

Are you a parent or young adult wanting to impact systems change? Review the resources at our Use Your Voice page to get started!


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