Youth engagement is about empowering young people as valuable partners to address issues and make decisions that affect them personally or that they believe to be important. Engaging young people has always been a priority for us. Over the years, we’ve co-developed dozens of resources with them. They're also integrated as important partners on all our key projects and initiatives, through our youth advisory council.

Quality standard for youth engagement

The quality standard for youth engagement describes nine principles that contribute to high-quality youth engagement. The standard details background, rationale, best practices and practical approaches for each principle, and defines what each one means for young people, agencies and decision makers.

Visit the engagement page to learn more about quality standards and why we need them.

Resources to support implementation

Implementing the quality standard for youth engagement means more young people are engaged in a more meaningful way, informing services and leading to better service experiences and outcomes. And we want to support implementation in any way we can! Please explore the resources below, and get in touch with our engagement team if you have specific questions.

What’s in it for me?!

This resource was co-developed by young people for their peers to better understand the quality standard for youth engagement. It unpacks what the principles that make up the standard mean for young people, and how they work together to inform high-quality, meaningful youth engagement

Measurement surveys

Our measurement surveys look at key indicators for all the principles that make up the quality standard for youth engagement. These surveys can be administered to young people, staff and other partners at the organizational, community or system level. This provides a 360-degree snapshot, allowing users to determine a benchmark and check their progress over time. Please email our engagement team for more information.

Youth engagement traffic light

This resource is a visual aide to help understand the continuum of youth engagement (from negative, disengaging activities to the highest forms of engagement) and guide conversations between adults and young people who are planning for organizational-, community- and system-level youth engagement.

Developing core and implementation teams

Based on implementation science, this resource identifies and describes the purpose and structure of core teams and implementation teams. It was developed to support stakeholders, organizations, communities and systems in their initial efforts to implement the quality standard for youth engagement.

Introduction video

This video is geared toward organizations and communities interested in implementing the quality standards for youth and family engagement. It’s intended to provide an orientation to the quality standards, including defining key terminology and introducing the principles.

Action planning templates

Action planning agenda template

This agenda template provides a sample plan and activities to support the core team to create an action plan. An action planning meeting could be a full-day meeting, or could be accomplished through several shorter meetings, as needed.

Project-based action plan template

Use the project-based action plan template tohelp identify how organizational milestones can be mapped onto corresponding quality statements to show how a project aligns with the quality standard for youth or family engagement — and how alignment can be enhanced. For help getting started, refer to the example project-based action plan.

Principles-based action plan template

Use the principles-based action plan template to help structure planning for activities drawing upon the best practices and principles of the quality standard for family engagement.

Supporting provincial youth engagement efforts

With the energy and expertise of our in-house youth advisor and other staff, we’ve engaged hundreds of young people across the province. We've also worked with many organizations to build their capacity to practice meaningful youth engagement at the individual, organizational and system levels.

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Integrated Youth Services

Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) Integrated Youth Services is a network of one-stop shops where young people ages 12 to 25 can access the mental health and addictions services they need, when they need them. Youth engagement is an essential part of YWHO's co-developed and youth-driven model. This work is led by the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Health and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)'s Provincial System Support Program (PSSP). We support meaningful youth engagement at their local hub sites around Ontario, as well as at the provincial level.

The New Mentality

The New Mentality is a provincial network of young people and allies working to amplify youth voice, to influence change within the mental health and addictions system. We helped establish the New Mentality in 2007 and have worked frequently with the network since then to promote and enhance youth engagement across the province.

Walking the talk: A toolkit for engaging youth in mental health

Our online youth engagement toolkit provides a better understanding of how youth engagement can directly benefit young people and communities. We designed it to highlight the benefits, help you implement youth engagement initiatives in your agency and showcase youth engagement success stories from across the province.

Check out our youth peer support video series