Friday, December 13, 2013
Engaging Homeless Youth in Community-Based Participatory Research
Growing evidence highlights the benefits to youth of involvement in community-based participatory research. Less attention has been paid, however, to the contributions youth can make to helping change health-promoting policy through such work.
This is a multi-method case study of a policy-focused community-based participatory research project in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles, California, where a small group of homeless youth worked with adult mentors to develop and conduct a survey of 96 homeless youth and used the findings to help secure health-promoting policy change.
The authors review the partnership’s work at each stage of the policy-making process; its successes in changing policy regarding recreation, juvenile justice, and education; and the challenges encountered, especially with policy enforcement. The study shares lessons learned, including the importance of strong adult mentors and of policy environments conducive to sustainable, health-promoting change for marginalized youth.