Youth voice is a fundamental value of the system of care framework. Authentic youth engagement provides opportunities for youth to be more involved in their services, including: giving and receiving support from their peers; gaining knowledge and skills that can be used to pursue their personal goals; and using their lived experience to make a difference in their community. Engagement is the vehicle for ensuring a forum for youth and young adults to be able to have a say over their own lives. Furthermore, youth-adult partnerships allow for communities to gain current information on the types of services and supports that matter most to young people. Texas System of Care promotes and supports a number of endeavors to support youth voice and engagement at the state and local levels.
How We Support
ACCEPT (Allies Cultivating Change by Empowering Positive Transformation) began in 2013 when several youth and young adults began to envision the idea of a statewide group of youth and young adults who advocate for the issues important to young people and provide training to organizations on how to better engage youth. In the summer of 2016, ACCEPT became a statewide chapter of Youth M.O.V.E National. Youth M.O.V.E is a youth-led national organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development by uniting the voices of individuals who have lived experience related to mental health and/or substance use.
Interested in joining ACCEPT? Learn more.
Today, ACCEPT consists of a core group of youth and young adult leaders from across Texas. While each member has different lived experiences and passions, ACCEPT is held together by a common value for authentically engaging youth voice. ACCEPT Texas is also currently developing local chapters around the state and has existing chapters in Austin, San Marcos, Waco, and Katy.
Artify, created by ACCEPT Texas, is a national award-winning youth leadership conference that seeks to demonstrate how the fine arts can be used as pathway for wellness and creating community change. Artify conferences have been held in Dallas and Plainview, Texas.
Learn how to bring Artify to your community!
Youth Engagement and Voice
Texas System of Care works with local communities and state agencies to support youth representation on councils and boards. Youth voice and leadership in system of care advisory roles is critical to the creation of a youth driven system, with services and supports that meet the needs of youth and young adults. Texas System of Care provides training and technical assistance to support local communities in engaging youth in decision-making roles.
Youth Peer Support
In 2018, Texas System of Care partnered with the Alliance for Adolescent Recovery and Treatment in Texas to convene a roundtable on expanding peer support services for young people with mental health and/or substance use disorders in order to identify priorities and next steps related to advancing youth peer support efforts in Texas. The Youth Peer Support Roundtable resulted in youth-driven recommendations for enhancing youth peer support.
Texas System of Care is currently supporting local system of care communities in the implementation of youth peer support. This includes a readiness assessment, training and technical assistance for organizational leaders, and training for youth peer support providers and their supervisors.
Transition-Age Youth Initiatives
Texas System of Care promotes and supports transition-age youth promising and best practices, as well as provides training and technical assistance to local communities on key areas of practice and programming endeavors.