Sacramento – Today, Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) is sharing the findings of a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) regarding youth and family engagement with State entities. The report is based on a request Majority Leader Reyes made of the LAO last year to conduct research on the ways State departments and agencies were engaging youth and family representatives in their advisory bodies.
“All too often, youth and family representatives will be invited to participate in advisory boards, but face barriers to sharing meaningful feedback. These can range from a lack of onboarding training to an inability to travel to in-person meetings due to work and family responsibilities. As policymakers, it is our responsibility to ensure that youth and family members are empowered to share their perspectives and to provide input on the policies that affect them. I applaud the LAO for their work on this memo and for the comprehensive recommendations they have provided to enhance youth and family engagement.”
The LAO interviewed several state entities that have advisory bodies with youth and family representatives, including the California Department of Education, California Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Developmental Services, and Department of Health Care Services. Based on these interviews, the LAO made a number of key findings, noting that advisory bodies had varying levels of engagement from families and the shift to virtual meeting formats increased participation.
Recommendations included maintaining and improving virtual meeting capacity and ensuring youth and families have the necessary support to be meaningful participants. These supports could include robust onboarding and training designed to enhance participants’ technical expertise, as well as monetary supports to help families cover the cost of travel if they are able to attend meetings in-person.
By empowering youth and families to provide feedback on the policies that affect them, California’s State government has the opportunity to strengthen democratic participation and create solutions that meet the needs of our communities.