Youth-Adult Partnerships in Work with Youth: An Overview


  • Heather L. Ramey Humber College, Brock University, Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement
  • Heather L. Lawford Bishop’s University, Brock University, Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement
  • Wolfgang Vachon Child & Youth Care Program, Humber College



youth-adult partnership, youth engagement, youth voice, adult ally, youth work


Youth-adult partnerships in child and youth services engage the participants in collaborative, shared decision making, in areas such as governance, program planning and implementation, and advocacy. However, these partnerships often occur in isolation, and fail to engage in potentially useful, larger conversations about theory and research. Therefore, in an effort to provide common grounds for understanding and engaging in such partnerships, we offer an overview of current literature. We discuss definitions and discourses, describe models of youth-adult partnerships, and briefly consider current research on potential benefits for youth, adults, organizations, and communities. We also present challenges and promising practices for adult allies engaged in youth-adult partnerships. 


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