About The Y-Val
Youth MOVE National (YMN) worked with a research team from Portland State University (PSU) to create the Youth Voice Agency Level Assessment (Y-VAL). The Y-VAL is an organizational assessment tool that is intended to measure the extent to which agencies are incorporating youth voice into agency-level procedures and decision-making across eight critical themes. Its purpose is to improve how organizations implement youth-driven practice. Youth driven practice means that youth are empowered, educated, and given decision making roles in the care of their own lives as well as the policies and procedures that affect them.
Implementing The Y-VAL In Colorado
One of COACT Colorado's strategic goals is to support local communities to increase youth engagement and voice within their system of care. The Y-VAL was chosen as a tool to assess baseline capacity and encourage local COE's to reflect on whether the programs they were implementing were youth-guided, and identify strategies and areas of growth. The Y-VAL was introduced to local COE's at a kick-off meeting in September 2018 with survey occurring during the late fall. Agencies were asked to develop a local plan for gathering data from organizations, workers and youth.
Colorado Statewide Results
Overall theme means were very good (close to or above 3/5), and on par with the national average.
Type of Agencies
Sustainability & AmeriCorps VISTA
How To Use Your Data
Each page of this resource provides an overview by theme, comparing each item’s mean score to the National Average*. Items where the national average was higher than the Colorado's statewide average are listed as “areas of growth”, and items where the Colorado statewide average was higher than the national average are listed as “areas of strength”. For each theme there are questions to help frame your local sustainability conversation. With Youth MOVE's help we have added ideas and suggested resources to implement the item more fully in your community. Kippi Clausen is available to provide TA and Training in each of the areas. She will also be assisting in developing local implementation plans for those communities interested in using an AmeriCorps VISTA member to support your local youth engagement and peer support effort.
.*Agencies participating in this study were actively recruited by Youth MOVE National and Portland State University, who identified potential agencies that might be a good fit for the study. This means that the National Validation Study scores may be slightly higher than a “true” national average.
Things To Consider
Overall Colorado scored close to, if not slightly above the national mean for many items identified within the Y-VAL. The data included in this tool reflect the average of the combined responses from all surveys received from local communities. Communities are encouraged to use this data to identify areas of strength and growth to incorporate into your sustainability plan. For areas of strength, you might consider what has contributed to your strength in this area and identify how to sustain or perhaps replicate those practices in new areas in order to develop a stronger base of support within your community. For areas of growth, you might consider a single theme or two that will help you increase youth engagement/voice and develop actions steps within your sustainability plan. As you identify your actions steps consider joining the COACT AmeriCorps VISTA program to implement your youth voice/peer support effort.
Sustainability Plan Reflection Question
1. What themes and items stand out in the data? High and low scores.
2. What data points (items) are you curious to learn more about as a starting point? As you learn more how will you use that information to move to action?
3. What barriers may have lead to lower scores? How can they be addressed?
4. What strategies have been implemented that supported higher scores? How can you ensure they are sustained or expanded?
5. What resources and supports would be needed for initiate, replicate or improve?