Youth Impact Assessments: Helping Elected Officials Improve the Lives of Children & Youth

Youth impact assessments (YIAs)—much like environmental and fiscal impact assessments—offer a fresh strategy to assess the effects of proposed policies on children and youth and help elected and government officials make better-informed decisions. Children are affected by nearly every policy decision elected and government officials make, but young people are rarely considered when officials make those decisions. 

Especially when so many youth are struggling with school, mental health challenges, and housing insecurity, youth impact assessments provide elected officials with valuable new information as they work to improve children’s lives. As a result, policymakers can better understand and be connected to the children and families they represent.

While various entities, such as community organizations, can implement youth impact assessments, government officials are best suited to both initiate and benefit from their use as they decide on new policies. This fact sheet outlines how elected and other government officials at the city, county, state, or federal level can start using YIAs and provides examples of places using them today.

One especially valuable strategy elected officials can use in developing YIAs is to incorporate young people’s feedback—especially those most impacted by the proposed policies. Youth input not only provides a vital perspective for YIAs, but YIAs but also offer youth councils and other youth-engagement efforts a meaningful role in decision-making. Visit this fact sheet for tips to successfully involve youth in YIAs.

Visit Youth Impact Assessments and information and resources to learn about YIAs and how they can be used to put children and youth at the forefront of policy decisions.