New Strategic Plan: Three Ways the Federal Government Will Collaborate to Help Youth

Photograph of diverse happy young people.

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, made up of twelve federal departments and five federal agencies, recently unveiled its strategy for working together to improve the lives of young people.

“Pathways for Youth: Draft Strategic Plan for Federal Collaboration” (PDF, 862KB) is based on input from young people, families, schools, nonprofit organizations, State Children’s Cabinet directors, government organizations at the federal, state, and local levels, and others. The plan starts to answer the question, “How can we provide youth pathways to opportunity that include meaningful connections and safe, healthy, and stable places to live, learn, and work?”

In the plan, the working group notes that solutions to the problems faced by young people who are at risk for disconnection or are already disconnected require coordination. For example, we can help young people graduate from high school or receive a GED by helping them get transportation to classes. We can help them keep jobs if we provide mental health and substance abuse services. We can help them leave homeless shelters by connecting them to supportive adults, permanent housing and employment.

So it stands to reason that by coordinating the myriad federal programs that help youth and their families, we can better support vulnerable youth.

Pathways for Youth is founded on three overarching and interrelated strategic goals for federal collaboration on youth programming. All three are topics NCFY has touched on over the past few years. Here are the goals along with links to related NCFY content:

Goal 1: Collaboration and Coordination

Promote coordinated strategies to improve youth outcomes.

Objective 1: Align and simplify federal guidance for youth programs.

Objective 2: Coordinate youth programming and funding support at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels.

Objective 3: Coordinate technical assistance efforts to leverage resources.

Related content from NCFY: "Fostering Successful Transitions to Adulthood Through Collaboration"

Goal 2: Evidence-based and Innovative Strategies

Promote the use of evidence-based and innovative strategies at federal, state, local, and tribal levels.

Objective 1: Encourage the adoption of evidence-based strategies, and support their implementation.

Objective 2: Support innovation and deepen the evidence base to fill gaps in knowledge.

Related content from NCFY: "Evidence-Based Practice 101"

Goal 3: Youth Engagement and Partnerships

Promote youth engagement and partnership to strengthen programs and benefit youth.

Objective 1: Promote youth-adult partnerships to support sustained youth engagement efforts and strengthen programs.

Objective 2: Provide and encourage federal, state, local, and tribal provision of multiple opportunities for youth to develop, master, and apply critical skills, including life and leadership skills.

Related content from NCFY: "Helping, Contributing, Learning: Youth Engagement as a Path to Well-being"

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