The identification of a Statewide Youth Organization was established as a need by a group of Pennsylvania youth and young adults of varying backgrounds from across the state of Pennsylvania. The inception of this idea was a result of the Pennsylvania System of Care Partnership’s (PA SOC Partnership) First Cooperative Agreement grant. Upon award and acceptance of the grant, eight (8) standards were developed, and Youth Driven was developed as one (1) of these standards. The Youth Driven standard encompasses the following:
- A minimum of 25% of the County Leadership Team are youth members, who share equal responsibility with family members and system partners. (Information on the County Leadership Team is located on page three (3) of this document.)
- The County Leadership Team ensures that youth members are prepared, trained, supported and valued.
- The county has mechanisms in place to provide support for youth participation in events such as stipends, assistance with transportation, travel reimbursement, and child care.
- The County Leadership Teams facilitates the development of sustainable youth efforts and leadership in the county.
- Opportunities for youth voice and leadership are made available in each respective child-serving system in the county.
- Youth in the county received adequate information and have a primary decision-making role regarding their own car and overall well-being.
- Peer support is available to youth in the county in order to improve youth and family outcomes.
- Youth in the county have access to youth organizations that supports youth involvement at the system and service-delivery levels.
A new Expansion and Implementation System of Care grant was awarded to the PA System of Care Partnership beginning July 1, 2013, and during the planning for the Expansion and Implementation System of Care grant the Youth Involvement Specialist (YIS) and Family Involvement Specialist (FIS) held six (6) community forums to receive input from youth and families to better determine to their needs and opinions. As a result, it was determined from youth across the state that there was no overall state youth voice and/or empowered group to address the needs of youth in child-serving systems (Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, Education, Physical Health, and individuals with Developmental Disabilities). Between 2011 and 2012, there were four (4) meetings which looked at the youth efforts within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Out of the meetings, it was decided to create the Youth Coalition Board (YCB), the precursor to Youth M.O.V.E. PA. After the creation YCB and some challenges growing the board, the YIS looked at national youth organizations to see what group the YCB could join.
In July 2015 the youth were presented with options and chose to apply to be a part of the Youth M.O.V.E. National Network. During the month of May 2016, the YCB was accepted into the Youth M.O.V.E. National Network. Some of the founding members of the Youth Coalition Board have continued to actively work and advise Youth M.O.V.E. PA