The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health is a network of empowered youth and allied adults who transform public consciousness and increase the capacity of Healthcare, Family, and School systems to support the sexual health, identities, and rights of youth.
We are focusing our attention on these critical systems on the premise that young people will interact with them in some capacity during their lives and all impact health in a profound way. Through intentional base-building, members of these three networks are an integral part of our three-year organizing strategy to increase the capacity of adults to effectively partner with young people in order to improve programs, policies, and procedures that directly impact their lives.
In this model and in partnership with ICAH’s Youth Leadership Council we gather professionals in each network to discuss common trends, utilize relevant research to inform their work, and create change in these systems by engaging in concrete actions that advance our work. By investing in strong youth-adult partnerships, we hope to make our vision of a world in which all young adults in Illinois use their power to achieve health and well being in their own lives and for their communities, a reality.
Our Family Network is comprised of parents ages 16-24. They met for the first time in August 2014 and will be working to identify programs, policies, or procedures that directly impact pregnant and parenting youth. With the space to have open & honest conversations about what it means to be pregnant or a parent in Chicago, our group shared stories, gave critical opinions, and stressed the need for a world without stigma and shame toward pregnant and parenting youth.
Akosuah, Family Network Member and Young Mother said in her video testimonial: “They didn’t see me as a statistic. They saw me as a young mother who wanted to do better for their child…someone who wanted to strive…someone who could just get her education and whatever career she wanted. They’ve been helping me since day one.”
Comprised of individuals from family-supporting organizations, ICAH’s Family Network is currently discussing trends in the field in order to identify the areas in which we can make change.