Children's Voice Dec 2005

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Executive Directions
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From Custody to Career

Advice for Practitioners

(An excerpt from It's My Life: Employment, A Guide for Transition Services from Casey Family Programs, available online).

Youth attending the National Youth Employment Coalition's 2004 Policy Forum participated in a youth-only session. They presented the recommendations below to adults who work with young people.

Demonstrate integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. Practice what you preach. Promote individual accountability. Develop trusting relationships with youth.

Advertise programs and opportunities. Use billboards to tell stories of how getting involved has helped young people.

Seek to motivate youth. Use rewards and incentives such as recreation, dance, music, and food. Focus on positive things about young people. Push them to achieve goals. Take them on educational and career-related trips. Practice tough love.

Educate young people. Provide quality educational opportunities: quality staff, necessary supplies, hands-on learning opportunities. Youth need teachers who show them how to do things and engage them, not instructors who tell them what to do. Provide financial aid for advanced education. Educate youth about American history, government, voting, and issues.

Involve youth with the community. Have a community youth day. Take youth to meetings in Washington, DC (or state/local levels) to have their voices heard. Hold meetings in the community.

Focus on the personal, and be sensitive to youth needs. To participate, youth need things such as transportation, respect, and rights.


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