These tips were developed through a series of discussion sessions with five youth who have been involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems or who have experienced homelessness or disconnection, and four youth-supporting professionals. Activate researchers identified relevant literature to support the themes that emerged from those discussions. Whenever possible, that research focused on youth in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, youth experiencing homelessness, or opportunity youth.
These tips are based on two assumptions about the role of professionals in communicating with youth about sexual and reproductive health:
- Youth-supporting professionals have conversations with young people about sexual and reproductive health. The recommendations in this tip sheet are meant to facilitate those conversations.
- Youth-supporting professionals must acknowledge when they do not have answers to youths’ questions and seek needed information in partnership with the youth. Youth-supporting professionals should avoid trying to “know everything” when discussing sexual and reproductive health with youth.
Be Comprehensive and Clear in Discussions about Sexual and Reproductive Health
Explain Confidentiality and Reporting Requirements
Use Inclusive, Gender-Neutral Language
Customize Interactions with Youth Based on Context and Individual Need
Honor and Respect Youth Requests and Decision-Making
Use Positive Mannerisms and Body Language
Build Safe Physical and Emotional Environments (in-person and virtually)