Background and Plan Development

To develop the plan, The Working Group pursued a multistep strategy. 

Develop a Framework for Input

The Working Group developed a framework for input that encompassed key priorities for the process. This framework guided the input process by providing the rationale for the topics discussed at all listening sessions and webinars. The framework considers cultural factors influencing youth, depicts the range of programs and practices federal partners support, depicts the different populations of youth served through programs, and focusses on overarching outcomes for youth.

The three overarching outcomes for youth through this framework are:

  • Health, Safety, and Wellness
  • School, Family, and Community Engagement and Connections
  • Education, Training, Employment, Transitions; and Readiness for Jobs, Careers, and Adulthood

The Working Group’s framework focuses on all youth across several developmental stages, including:

  • Early adolescence (ages under 14)
  • Middle adolescence (ages 15-17)
  • Late adolescence/early adulthood (ages 18-24)

Framework for Input on Strategic Plan for Federal Youth Policy

Solicit Feedback and Summarize Responses

The Working Group solicited input from a wide range of stakeholders, including young people, families, schools, nonprofit organizations, State Children’s Cabinet directors, government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels, and others. Input was gathered at ten listening sessions across the country, as well as listening sessions at conferences, with youth, and with the children’s cabinet network.  While each session began with a single topic on which to focus – e.g., housing, employment, or mentoring – the discussions that followed revealed that every topic is connected to a number of other topics, and that it was impossible to focus on a single topic without also touching upon those other topics as well. The interconnectedness of youth issues is clear.  Summaries of the listening sessions are posted here and responses received through this website about them were collected and reviewed by the Working Group.

Public Listening Sessions
Below you can read summaries of participants’ responses at each of the public listening sessions. Each public listening session focused on a different youth topic from the framework, but the input received from participants addressed related topics as well.

  1. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Education, (Boston, MA)
  2. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Service-Learning, Youth Engagement and Enrichment Opportunities, (New York, NY)
  3. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Improving Outcomes for All Youth, (Washington, DC)
  4. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Juvenile Justice, (Orlando, FL)
  5. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Youth Employment and Transitions, (Chicago, IL)
  6. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Housing, (Houston, TX)
  7. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Physical and Mental Health and Wellness, (Kansas City, MO)
  8. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Service-Learning and Youth Engagement, (Denver, CO)
  9. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Youth Enrichment, Youth Engagement, Youth Mentoring, and Positive Youth Development, (San Francisco, CA)
  10. Listening Session Summary: Focus on Youth Safety, (Seattle, WA)

Conference Listening Sessions
In addition to the public listening sessions, sessions were held at seven youth related conferences across the country. These sessions gathered additional information from targeted participants who work with youth and families to address homelessness, mental health issues, transitions, health, positive youth development and other targeted topics. While common themes were seen across the sessions, some responses varied by the specific interests of those participating. Conference Listening Session Summaries

Youth Specific Listening Sessions
Six sessions with youth were held to ensure that the youth voice was captured in the strategic planning process. Sessions were held with youth that represented different youth organizations. Most sessions co-occurred with conferences and events targeted at youth. Participants included youth leaders from 4-H organizations, youth involved in the Special Olympics, youth who attended and participated in a national bullying summit, youth involved in systems of care, youth who attended a summit on traffic safety, and youth who participated in a summit on foster care in California. Each of the sessions held with youth are summarized separately as different questions were asked at the sessions. Youth Listening Session Summaries

Children's Cabinet Network Listening Sessions
The Children's Cabinet Network sessions were made up of state policy leaders who serve as directors and/or chairs of Children's Cabinets. Sometimes known as councils or commissions, Children's Cabinets are established through executive order or legislation. Though they vary in structure from state to state, Children's Cabinets are typically made up of the heads of all state government agencies with child and youth-serving programs. Members of Children's Cabinets meet on a regular basis to coordinate services, develop a common set of outcomes, and collaboratively decide upon and implement plans to foster the well-being of young people in their state. The Children's Cabinet Network expressed ways in which federal policy can help improve their coordination efforts at the state level, so that they may more efficiently and effectively improve youth outcomes. Children’s Cabinet Network Listening Session Summaries

Review Key Strategic Documents and Engage Federal Partners

The Working Group also reviewed strategic documents on youth topics, including federal strategic plans; summarized and posted the public input generated from the listening sessions; and engaged federal partners by holding a series of brainstorming sessions with Working Group members and participants to gather ideas for the draft plan, consider versions of an outline for the plan itself, and develop goals, objectives, and strategies.

Draft the Plan and Request Feedback

Finally, the Working Group developed the draft document (PDF, 50 pages) and is requesting public feedback through this website.