About The YAC Project

The YAC Project is a non-partisan initiative that provides resources for youth advocacy councils (YACs) across the United States.

What is a YAC?

The YAC Project defines a youth advocacy council or a youth advisory council (YAC) as a coalition of young adults that works within an organizational body to suggest, endorse, and advocate for policy relevant to youth. Members are commonly between the ages of thirteen (13) and twenty-one (21), with one member elected as the Council Chair.

YACs are particularly prominent within numerous legislative bodies of local and state government. According to The YAC Project, YACs are currently authorized in over ten (10) State Legislatures across the United States, with reported or otherwise unconfirmed instances of now-defunct YACs at least three (3) other states.

Numerous state legislatures across the United States, including Indiana, Washington, Louisiana, and Maine, currently operate a YAC as of December 2018.

Resources for Current YACs

Although the YAC Project is still in its infancy, tentative plans regarding a national YAC student conference are being discussed. In addition, the YAC Project aims to conduct interviews, surveys, and develop resource material in order to promote civic engagement with YAC bodies across the United States.

In the meantime, current YAC members and leaders may choose to consult the following publications for guidance as they operate their local- or state- level YAC.

  • Building Effective Youth Councils: A Practical Guide to Engaging Youth in Policy Making. Published by the Forum for Youth Investment (FYI), in collaboration with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the National League of Cities (NLC). July 2007
    • Authorized by numerous national organizations, this publication provides rationale for youth engagement in government, key points that facilitate effective YACs (referred to as youth councils in this publication), and resources for existing YACs.
  • Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Youth Advisory Council. Michigan Department of Community Health. September 2014
    • This publication provides an insight to the approach that the Michigan health community took to ensure youth voice and input in their community.
  • Eight Successful Youth Engagement Approaches. Office of Adolescent Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services. March 2018.
    • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognizes youth councils (YACs) as a successful method of youth engagement.

Contact The YAC Project

For questions, concerns, or suggestions, please contact Aldo Medina, the main coordinator of The YAC Project, at admedina@iu.edu. Offerings of support are welcomed as well!