Freechild Institute Government Services

For more than 20 years, the Freechild Institute has served government agencies across the United States and Canada. Working on the local, county, state/province and federal levels, Freechild helps agencies and elected representatives increase youth engagement, improve outcomes and transform government.

Services

The Freechild Institute contracts with government agencies to provide training, consultation, evaluation, freelance writing and other services to support youth engagement efforts. Contact us for details.

We have also created a number of tools to support youth engagement in government. They include…

For a complete booklet of case studies or more information about contracting with the Freechild Institute, please contact us.

Case Studies

The following are selected, abbreviated examples of contracts and consultations completed by the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement and Adam F.C. Fletcher.

STATE YOUTH POLICY—As principal consultant on a team through The Athena Group, the Freechild Institute was contracted to serve the Washington State Office of Homeless Youth in 2019. In this project, Freechild staff provided program planning, research, product development and report writing services for the client. Working to support the ongoing systems response to Washington State’s crisis of youth homelessness, Freechild provided services in consultation with agency staff. Focused on human-centered design, these services included designing outreach workshops to engage current and formerly homeless youth who transitioned from state care via foster care, juvenile incarceration and behavioral health. Exploring the gaps in the system with those youth, this project also engaged Freechild in conducting personal interviews with a dozen young people to learn about systems gaps and explore opportunities to improve the system from their perspectives. Finally, Freechild drew together information from many sources to develop a report of activities by the Office of Homeless Youth in support of a bill designated by state legislators earlier in the year.

JUVENILE OFFENDERS—In 2018, the Parent-Youth Connections Seminar was a project of the King County Superior Court with primary focus on early intervention for low-risk youth involved in the court system. Focused on providing fun, interactive seminars to low-risk youth offenders and a parent or other connected adult, the Freechild Institute facilitated the program throughout 2018 for The Athena Group. In this project, on six different occasions Freechild designed and facilitated a 12-hour research-driven program designed to engage and empower families to change their lives. The Parent Youth Connections Seminar used intensive hands-on, interactive and focused activities, to engage parents and youth as they worked together to learn new knowledge, explore previous practices and grow new possibilities for their families. Over two-days, each session featured four workshops for learners of all ages including adult-only and youth-only groups. During each seminar, the Freechild facilitator ensured that participants were actively involved, heard engaging stories, completed challenging activities, participated in powerful reflection, discovered useful resources for the future and more.

YOUTH WORKFORCE—In 2015, the City of Lincoln, Nebraska workforce development staff contracted the Freechild Institute to more successfully reach low-income youth and youth of color. Between 2015 and 2016, Freechild facilitated evaluation and training events for city staff and nonprofit partners, and worked with City staff to redesign and implement a dynamic strategy to engage young people under 25 in workforce development activities. Focusing on youth voice, Freechild’s strategy created responsive, interactive opportunities for youth and adults to partner together for continuous improvement and extensive community engagement. Activities including program assessment, event facilitation and staff consultation. 

HOMELESS YOUTH—From 2013 to 2016, the Freechild Institute conducted strategic planning, program planning and project management for the City of Olympia and Capital Recovery Center in Olympia, Washington, through the Downtown Olympia Homeless Youth Engagement Project. Working with City staff, nonprofit partners and business owners in the downtown area, the Freechild consultant facilitated homeless youth outreach forums, community planning events and key informant interviews, developing responsive programs and outreach activities with city staff and others. They created meeting agendas and facilitated activities, including more than a dozen gatherings of up to 100 people, with activities ranging from technical assistance meetings, community-wide gatherings, professional affinity groups, and forums for homeless youth. For this project, Freechild created activity reports and developed a comprehensive funding report for the City government, and designed performance tools for use in large scale public events as well as in professional development sessions for City staff and nonprofit partners. 

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES—In 2011, the City of Cheney, Washington, Parks and Recreation Department wanted to take their healthy community coalition building activities to the next level. Weighing national interest in working in this small college city, they selected the Freechild Institute through a competitive bidding process to develop the Let’s Move, Cheney Five-Year Strategic Plan. Faced with an epidemic of childhood obesity in their city, Cheney leaders gathered together to address the issue through a community-wide initiative focused on transforming systems, cultures, and attitudes towards health and wellness in the city. However, after a year of working together, diverse perspectives revealed the need for an outside facilitator who could establish middle ground and build consensus on moving forward. Focusing on creating a comprehensive long-range plan, Freechild created a performance measurement tool, a community engagement plan, an action plan, a fundraising plan, an annual evaluation plan, and a sustainability plan as part of the effort. We conducted almost 100 key informant interviews; facilitated group feedback sessions; and devised the final copy for the plan. Additionally, the Freechild Institute also facilitated a community-wide meeting with more than 70 participants to deliver the plan.

SERVICE LEARNING—From 2002 to 2006, Freechild contracted with the Washington State Learn & Serve America program. Providing expert training, consultation, and evaluation for 50 schools statewide, Freechild partnered with OSPI’s service learning coordinator to provide consulting and training focused on meaningful student involvement in service learning for 50+ K-12 schools across Washington. Activities included training students and educators in student voice and evaluating service learning programs in local schools. Outcomes from the project also included the creation of the Meaningful Student Involvement Idea Guide, printed by OSPI. Freechild’s research and writing also led to the development of the Washington Youth Voice Handbook for the program.

RURAL YOUTH—In 1997, the Freechild Institute contracted with the Village of Caroline, Alberta Family and Community Support Services to develop and deliver a youth empowerment program called Firestarter between 1997 and 2000. Caroline is a rural community that sits on the edge of the Canadian Rockies. Contracting with Freechild to design and facilitate a youth empowerment program over three consecutive years, local middle and high students participated in what has become the popular FireStarter Youth Empowerment Curriculum. Firestarter Youth Empowerment Curriculum was first published by The Freechild Project in 2001, and again by the Points of Light Foundation in 2002.

For a complete booklet of case studies or more information about contracting with the Freechild Institute, please contact us.

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