The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health is a network of empowered youth and allied adults who transform public consciousness and build capacity of family, school and healthcare systems to support the sexual health, identities, and rights of youth. We educate, advocate, and organize for reproductive justice for youth in Illinois.

Strategic Plan

ICAH Strategic Plan FY13-15

In 2012, we launched a three-year organizing strategy with youth leaders and adult allies in healthcare, family and school systems to wage cultural advocacy for change in the way people parent, teach and treat students at home, at school and at the doctor’s office respectively.


This strategic plan helps us realize our vision for a world in which all young adults use their power to achieve health and well-being in their own lives and for their communities. The plan also clarifies eleven values that are central to our functioning and a theory of change that we believe breaks down barriers to access and education.


These pathways for change serve a dual purpose as social media hashtags to start intentional conversations and debates about the following crucial issues through which public consciousness can be changed:

  • #YouthVoice: Increase opportunities for youth decision-making and leadership within family, school, and healthcare systems.
  • #AdultAllies: Increase the capacity of adult and youth allies to foster mutually respectful relationships.
  • #SexEdSaves: Increase access to sex-positive, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate information around sexual health, identity, and rights of youth.
  • #HealthAccess: Increase access to sexual healthcare, information, and resources in a culturally-relevant and youth-friendly way.
  • #SafeSpace: Increase access to safe relationships and environments that support health and positive self-perception.
  • #NoShame: Reduce stigma and shame around youth sexuality and sexual decision-making.


We believe that an organized effort for cultural shifts in beliefs about young people’s rights and capacity to make decisions about their bodies will both impact policy and the direct experience that young people encounter in accessing sexuality education and sexual health care.  We believe that this process involves both raising the capacity of youth AND adults to partner for change.

View ICAH’s Strategic Plan Prezi 


Founded in 1977 as the Illinois Caucus on Teenage Pregnancy, our organization has accomplished much in the fields of adolescent welfare, workforce development, health, and parenting.


The 1960s introduced the birth control pill—and the potential for women to gain greater control over their reproductive lives. In 1967, Cook County Hospital began dispensing birth control, and within 10 years the hospital’s birth rate dropped by a third. In 1969, a new state law legalizing family planning services for unmarried adolescents of any age passed after an 11-year-old gave birth to twins.


In the 1970s, the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union worked tirelessly to set up grassroots health programs for women. When CWLU demobilized, activist Jenny Knauss continued organizing around health care system reform on behalf of Illinois young people, and in 1983 she became the first executive director of the Caucus. In 1991, we changed our name to the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health to reflect the organization’s broadening agenda.


For more than three decades, ICAH has organized and trained young people to advocate for issues that directly affect their lives and communities. ICAH has conducted statewide research, developed resources, changed public policy, and hosted frequent events and training sessions for youth and service providers, always with an emphasis on building youth leadership skills and serving marginalized populations, including low-income, immigrant, homeless, LGBTQ, and pregnant and parenting adolescents.


Today ICAH continues to work in partnership with youth, advocating policies and practices that promote a positive approach to adolescent sexual health and parenting.





1977: Illinois Caucus on Teenage Pregnancy founded following a conference on the increasing adolescent pregnancy rate nationwide.


1986: First Youth Advisory Board established.


1993: Legislation introduced and passed to establish a committee to report to the Illinois General Assembly on pregnant and parenting youth public aid policies.


1995: Successful Networking for Adolescent Parents program developed to create a statewide case management system for pregnant and parenting wards.


1996: Statewide coalition Youth Need to Know Network formed to oppose federal abstinence- only-until-marriage policy.


2002: All Teen Health website launched, making adolescent health information available to youth, parents, and service providers.


2006: Chicago Public Schools and Urbana School District pass school board policies mandating comprehensive sexuality education.


2008: Illinois Youth Policy Council formed to advocate for responsible sexual health education and the rejection of federal abstinence-only program funding.


2009: Freeport School District mandates comprehensive sexuality education.


2010: State Sexuality Education Report and Recommendations released.


Download and read a detailed organizational timeline from 1960-2010.

Jobs & Internships

The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health is an equal opportunity employer and values diversity in all its definitions.



Employment Opportunities


Currently Accepting Applications for Peer Health Ambassador (PHA) Facilitator


Interested candidates should send a cover letter stating interest & qualifications and resume to Grisel M. Robles-Schrader at jobs@icah.org by May 22nd, 2015. Please include “Peer Health Ambassador (PHA) Facilitator ” in the subject line. No phone calls please.




Position: Peer Health Ambassador (PHA) Facilitator

Position Type: Part Time/Contract

Target Start Date: June 2015

Areas of focus: Adolescent sexual health, sexual health education, nutrition/fitness education, youth engagement, youth development

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Reports to: PHA Specialist

Travel Requirements: Travel will occur throughout the Chicago area to various Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Description of Position:

The Peer Health Ambassadors (PHA) Program Facilitator will be responsible for facilitating the (10) ten- session PHA curriculum. The PHA Facilitator will also be responsible for coordinating and supporting youth participation in education and awareness activities developed as part of the PHA curriculum activities. Facilitators will track attendance and stipends for youth as a part of their participation. The PHA Facilitator will engage young people with a variety of health topics and issues such as reproductive health, nutrition and fitness, self-care, consent and rights, and healthy relationships. PHA Facilitators will encourage creative and critical thinking to promote healthier lifestyles for participating youth.

Description of Project:

The Peer Health Ambassadors (PHA) program is a project of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative’s Teen Outreach Program through Chicago Public Schools (CPS). CPS is partnering with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) to implement PHA. PHA is a group of young people from across CPS that engage in a ten (10) week Health & Wellness curriculum, and four (4) Education & Awareness activities. PHA is a program that provides an opportunity for students to increase their capacity to organize community projects and increase knowledge about: nutrition & fitness, healthy relationships, and sexual health issues while building upon leadership skills. PHA participants become leaders in their schools and communities in order to positively impact the lives of their peers, adult allies, and themselves.


ICAH is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or gender expression, age, religion, marital status, status as a qualified individual with a disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other status protected by applicable law. People of color & LGBTQI individuals are encouraged to apply when positions are open.




Internships & Practicum Placements


ICAH seeks individuals committed to transforming public consciousness and supporting the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth. We are able to accommodate both part-time and full-time internship requests. We ask that interns are able to commit a at least 8-10 hours per week for a minimum of one semester or four to six months (for out-of-school individuals). Internships that last at least one academic or calendar year are preferred.


Ideal candidates will have a background and/or interest in adolescent sexual health and youth development; excellent research and oral/written communication skills; proficiency using the Microsoft Office Suite; the ability to work well in team and independently; and clear learning goals and/or objectives.


Internships are unpaid and based out of our Chicago office. ICAH staff can work with you and your school to help obtain academic credit, if applicable. ICAH is located in the Loop, although internship duties may take you outside the downtown Chicago area.


We currently seek Summer 2015 Interns for Education & Outreach, Evaluation & Special Projects, FYI Performance Cadre, Chicagoland Organizing & Youth Development. Download the descriptions (.pdf) for more details and information on how to apply.


Volunteer Opportunities