Youth Advisory Councils in Action – Real Stories
Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) or boards are a common youth engagement strategy that has local impact.
UChoose Youth Advisory Council
The UChoose Youth Advisory Council helps improve Baltimore City Health Department programs. It includes young people between 14 and 20 years old. Council members live in Baltimore, Maryland. They meet every other week, learn about health topics that affect teens, and provide feedback on health campaign messages. They also plan and develop activities for youth in Baltimore. Members receive training to develop their leadership skills. YAC members receive a stipend, or payment, for participation.
Office of Children and Family Services Youth Advisory Board
The Office of Children and Family Services Youth Advisory Board in New York has up to 15 young people between 18 and 24 years old. The members live throughout the state. They attend meetings every 3 months, complete monthly assignments about ways to help foster youth become successful adults, and represent the voices of these young people in their state. They give feedback on issues such as licenses for foster homes, create guides for people who work with foster youth, and help decide what facts to consider when matching foster children with foster parents.
Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health’s (MOASH’s) Youth Advisory Council Collective
The Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health’s (MOASH’s) Youth Advisory Council Collective is a group of four YACs that each makes important decisions for the state. The groups promote adolescent sexual health in Michigan. Members must be between 13 and 24 years old and live in Michigan.
All four YACs focus on youth voice and youth access to sexual health education and services and two YACs also promote the voices of transgender youth. One YAC is working to help students with disabilities receive access to sexual health education in school.
MOASH members took part in an online meeting about helping youth with disabilities feel included. They developed a “Disability in Sex Education” toolkit for teachers. They also worked with government leaders to increase access to sexual health education in schools for students who have individualized education programs. These programs are written plans to meet a student’s educational needs.