Why Canada Needs a National Youth Policy Agenda

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Adolescents have a great deal of work to do to reach adulthood, when they will be expected to manage their own health, well-being, personal and community life and workforce participation . As a society, we have a great deal of work to do to help them become healthy and engaged adults. Although the family has considerable responsibility in nurturing young people, there are many ways that are social structures and processes help or hinder them. For this reason, it is essential that we avoid moralistic frameworks and look instead at rights and responsibilities, determinants of health, and adolescence as a key transitional stage. This paper was commissioned by the National Children's Alliance to begin a discussion about why we need a national youth policy agenda in Canada. Clearly, there is a need for some organization to catalyze systemic transformational change and provide momentum towards concrete civic and policy engagement. This paper makes the case for the development of a national youth policy agenda based on the developmental tasks of the transition years. Its objectives are: - To open a dialogue on adolescent health and well-being - To demonstrate how adolescence is a critical period in human development, where the decisions that we make as a society can have an enormous impact for better or worse - To highlight key social issues relating to adolescence - To establish adolescence as a priority action area. - It highlights the need for a shift in adult-adolescent relationships and links research and policies to the practice of actualizing the agency, resourcefulness, enthusiasm and energy of youth.


Dianne Rogers, Karen Kidder

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