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Young Adult-Driven Systems and Services

Young Adult-Driven Focus of the Georgetown TA Center

The Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health (TA Center) in partnership with the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), assists states, tribes, territories, and communities develop young adult-driven service delivery systems in which the youth have equal decision-making responsibilities in their own care. Young adult-driven service delivery systems are relationship-based, developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically competent, coordinated, and home and community-based.

The TA Center provides training and technical assistance that promotes:

  • Collaboration, change, and transformation of systems and services
  • The adoption of promising and evidence- based practices for youth and young adults of transition age, their families and providers
  • Strategies to assure a strong youth voice in service and policy development
  • The infusion of inclusive mental health services and supports into existing programs and initiatives
  • The development of a well prepared young person in all areas of their life: education, employment, housing, physical health, mental health, and addressing co- occurring disorders

Working in collaboration with Youth M.O.V.E. National, the TA Center provides technical assistance in the implementation of young adult-driven principles in policy, systems, and services.

What is Young Adult-Driven Care?

As defined by Youth M.O.V.E. National, young adult-driven means that young people have the right to be empowered, educated, and given a decision-making role in the care of their own lives as well as the
policies and procedures governing care for all youth in the community, state, and nation.

This includes:

  • Giving young people a sustainable voice and then listening to that voice
  • Young adult-driven organizations creating safe environments that enable young people to gain self-sustainability in accordance with the cultures and beliefs with which they identify
  • A young adult-driven approach recognizing that there is a continuum of power that should be shared with young people based on their understanding and maturity in a strength-based change process

Why is Young Adult-Driven Care Important?

  • To unite the voices and causes of youth while raising awareness around youth issues
  • To advocate for youth rights and voice in mental health and the other systems that serve them
  • To empower youth to be equal partners in the process of change
  • To prepare every young person who enters a youth-serving system for life
  • To have a genuine opportunity for authentic youth involvement throughout all system levels to help guide the redevelopment of systems so that no youth falls through the cracks
  • To advocate for young people to utilize their power and expertise to foster change for youth in their communities and in their own lives
  • To recognize and accept the culture of youth to help their families and the communities that serve them to be truly culturally-competent

Contact Information

For further information or additional questions, please contact:
Teresa King
Family Resource Specialist
National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health
Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University
tk357@georgetown.edu