Youth engagement  and public policy 1
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  • 1. Youth Engagement and Public Policy Grace Lubwama DPPD University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy
  • 2. Overview 1. Intended Research Topic 2. Reasons for Interest 3. Relevance to Readings 4. Research on Topic 5. Key findings 6. Implications and Next Step 7. Video
  • 3. Research Topic  Sustaining the child well-being by linking community and citizen participation to public policy by engaging children and youth in the decision making.  How do we get children and youth involved in civic engagement and decision making in their own communities?  How do we empower children & youth to bring change toward their sustained well being especially the most vulnerable in their own community,  and how it affects communities position within the context of a larger social institutions.  Interested in exploring different mechanism and approaches being used to get children and youth involved in civic decision making.
  • 4. Reason for interest- ↑ Poverty rates
  • 5. Increase in Child poverty compared to ave .population.
  • 6. Reasons for Interest • Research and data shows that traditionally children have been disproportionally affected by poverty than any other group and that they are at higher risk of poverty than the average member of the population. (Anne Casey Foundation 2011 Kid Count Report) 2. Believe that children and youth should be able to express, engage, inform and be involved in decisions as citizens, as part of the new paradigm for their improved well- being. 3. Public Policy should matter for the well- being of children and youth. 4. Investing in the institutional infrastructure at the grassroots/local level ensures sustainable child well being outcomes. 5. Youth people are more prepared for the new paradigm worth exploring how to get them involved 6. A shift in focusing on the improvement in child well being will eventually reduce child poverty
  • 7. Empowered young people, demanding a better education  Wilkinsburg High School (PA) senior Jordan Howard thinks the district hasn't heard student voices.  "I feel we're being cheated out of high school," he said, saying students are missing out on extracurricular activities and some advanced classes. ( Pittsburg post Gazette 2012)
  • 8. Reason for interest  YEP targets vulnerable youth who possess leadership potential but lack opportunities to develop it in a positive way. Youth ages 14 to 18 learn to identify local issues and problems in their communities, and to research and propose solutions.  Youth participate in an intensive, 20-week leadership and advocacy curriculum.  Participants identify local issue of importance to them and their peers in their communities.  Learn about developing policy, advocacy and civic engagement to change those issues.  They research and develop a detailed policy recommendation to present to their policy makers in their community.  What different approaches will each community use to get the youth involved and participate/engaged in civic decisions in their communities
  • 9. Child Well- being Defined According to the Child and Youth Well-Being Index (2008):  "the overall well-being of children and young people... is defined in terms of averages of social conditions encountered by children and young people.”  According to Bradshaw et al., From a child rights perspective well-being can be defined as the realization of children’s rights and the fulfillment of the opportunity for every child to be all she or he can be..  Goal is improve CWB- It can happen if children/youth as citizen participate in economic, social and political decision making and for ensuring their sustained well – being.
  • 10. Sustained Child Well- being requires An Environmental View…….  communities and environment are important in contributing to and sustaining children’s well-being. Bradshaw et al 2006- Children interact with their environment and thus play an active role in creating their well-being by balancing the different factors, developing and making use of resources and responding to stress i.e. looking at systems and structures
  • 11. Research/Project? How do the different aspects affect/function with one another Goal – Improved & Sustained Child Well-being –Poverty reduction Community Development Model – affect change in their own community CHILDREN YOUTH Citizen Participation Policy Change Exploring mechanisms of engaging young people in the decision making around issues that affect them and linking it to policy change. What is the theoretical relevancy to practice? What are the lessons learnt of the process and structure?
  • 12. Theoretical Implications and Themes Informed by the readings 1. New Paradigm and Ecological World View Concept 2. Participation Theory 3. Collaboration Model 4. Sustainable Development 5. Rationality Theory-
  • 13. Theoretical Implications  Robert Putman- civic engagement and high levels of social capital foster economic and community development which reduce poverty  New Paradigm & Ecological View Concept-  emphasizes the interconnection and self –organizing capacity (Robertson 2007)  Values and perceptions shared by a community (Capra 1996)  Importance of dialogue and making meaning together  Empowering individuals to define their narratives (Miller 1993; Bosgason 2001)  Equality and justice. These provides a foundation of possibilities in improving a sustaining the well- being of children in communities that are vulnerable especially by involving the youth.
  • 14. Participation Model/ Theory It is a conceptual framework that:  Provides understanding the world in similar terms of transpersonal and spiritual phenomena  Shared meaning  Dialogue  Roberts 2004- citizen participation is cornerstone for democracy- individuals ought to be involved in the decisions affecting their lives, running their lives and managing their communities Children & Youth need to be involved and engaged in Communities/ civic decision making.
  • 15. Collaboration Model Focus on:  Relational networks;  Collectiveness before individualism, competition and self interest (Healey 2006)  Approach is emphasized in the literature of planning theory as great to addressing local environmental concerns and issues
  • 16. Sustainability  Sustainable Community is one that satisfies its needs without diminishing the prospects of the future generation. ( Brown 1996)  The concept of sustainability is based on the premise that people and their communities are made up of social, economic, and environmental systems that are in constant interaction and that must be kept in harmony or balance if the community is to continue to function to the benefit of its inhabitants  Child well-being has present and future repercussions on the lives of children and the community at large.  Important to strengthen local communities, creating space for citizen engagement and linking to policy change for sustainability (Norberg 1996)
  • 17. Rationality ( Rational Theory)  What is logical, objective, fact based and has method and process  An economic principle that assumes that individuals always make prudent and logical decisions that provide them with the greatest benefit or satisfaction and that are in their highest self-interest.  Herbert Simon proposed the theory of bounded rationality, which says that people are not always able to obtain all the information they would need to make the best possible decision.  Involving youth in the problem solving and decision making process.
  • 18. Research Findings  Guiding light Conference- is a powerful interactive conference on creative civic engagement from a grass root perspective in public policy.  Formal interviews- citizen participation important  David Korten  “Imagine an economy in which life is valued more than money and power resides with ordinary people who care about one another, their community, and their natural environment. It is possible. It is happening. Millions of people are living it into being. Our common future hangs in the balance”
  • 19. Findings from Research Sierra Health Foundation Report 2010 (Engaging Youth in Community Change; Outcomes and Lessons Learnt) Goal: Improving the well-being of children  Foundation launched REACH: Connecting Communities and Youth for a Healthy Future with a vision to ensure healthy development and leadership opportunities for youth between the ages of 10 and 15.  Across the seven communities, several hundred youth and adults participated in sustained ways during the 3 year period.  based on 346 interviews (87 with youth participants)  and more than 320 observations of REACH meetings and events, as well as a review of key REACH documents and relevant literature  outcomes and draws on an analysis of REACH evidence to articulate lessons for the field of community youth development.
  • 20. Key Findings from REACH  REACH-funded coalitions became a place to go for youth development ideas and activities in the participating communities.  In all seven communities, there was observed increasing awareness of key youth issues, developing capacity to bring youth perspectives to local decision-making bodies, and gathering momentum for particular ideas, strategies and approaches.  Coupling youth engagement and community change is difficult- Putting youth engagement in the center of a community change strategy can yield benefits, but requires more time, resources, focus and commitment than many anticipate.  Developing and sustaining a focused community change strategy can provide clarity about how and why to engage youth, but it doesn’t necessarily respond to what matters most to youth.
  • 21. Primary Implications of these Findings  Need to develop capacity to bring youth perspectives to local decision-making bodies, and gathering momentum for particular ideas, strategies and approaches  Exploring how and why to involve youth in civic decision making, while respond to what matters most to youth.
  • 22. Next Steps  Narrow Topic - Exploring mechanisms of engaging young people in the decision making around issues that affect them and linking it to policy change.  National Policy Platform- Linkage  What is the theoretical relevancy to practice?  Additional Research- classes  Explore methodological component  VIDEO- Youth Voice
  • 23. Video  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=TG5xidYK8Cg&feature=player_embedd ed