Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina, which is part of North Carolina Families United, has developed a Strategic Sharing Agreement, which provides a way for youth to share their stories “in a way that is meaningful, effective, safe, and motivates change.” What a wonderful and empowering idea! Youth are encouraged to share their stories at community meetings, education forums and workshops and conferences, but the important subject of protecting their confidentiality often does not get addressed. This Strategic Sharing Agreement seeks to help with that.
The concept of strategic sharing comes out of the Foster Care Alumni and Casey Foundation as a strategy for youth to tell their stories in way that is meaningful, effective and safe. The Strategic Sharing Agreement goes beyond the intent of sharing personal stories influencing change to protecting the youth when engaged in the change process.
The act of youth sharing their stories is a powerful force for systems change. Their lived experiences can shed a different light on issues professionals take for granted. However, there are risks to the youth that share their stories. Youth risk the possibility of re-disclosure of information, re-experiencing the emotional distress of information, and stigma attached to youth who struggle with emotional and behavioral health issues.
In order to lessen the risks to youth, researchers are designing youth-guided protocols and methods aimed at engaging youth persons at all levels of project development and implementation. Yet, concrete tools to facilitate this process are limited. The strategic sharing agreement helps to ensure that youth can enter the research and participatory process with mutual respect as equal partners and citizen researchers. This agreement will help reduce the risk to youth and promote greater involvement of youth in the research process.
I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation about the Strategic Sharing Agreement by members of Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina at a recent North Carolina State Collaborative meeting. Excellent work Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina!
If you would like to learn more about the Strategic Sharing Agreement, the questions (and answers) it raises on the part of youth, families and community providers, and how NC Youth M.O.V.E. is moving forward with implementation, contact:
Damie Jackson-Diop, Youth Transition Program Director at 919-675-1737 or Email: email@example.com