Youth Voices Initiative

Roffi Island 2016

The Lab created a new initiative to support the well-being of youth whose families have experienced separation and divorce.  Research shows that the divorce process can be very damaging for children as their well-being is closely linked to the level of conflict between their parents and other factors.  Working with Open Road Communications, local experts in service design, we are using a systemic human-centred design approach putting families and children at the centre which starts from the ground up with a series of design workshops to develop prototypes to change the system to preserve and improve youth well-being.

This process started with a narrative workshop on January 22, 2017 to better understand the emotional, informational, and legal needs of youth during separation and divorce from youth themselves, in their own words.  Unlike previous reform efforts, we started by hearing the voices of family members, and children in particular, in order to diagnose the problem, design effective solutions and then rigorously user-test those solutions before scaling up.  We will be using developmental evaluation to capture key learnings and incorporate them along the way.

Next steps include completing research and convening a sense-making workshop involving people from across, and outside of, the system as well as youth.  Once opportunities are identified and prioritized, prototypes will be identified and refined using cycle of user testing and revision.

Stay tuned for more information in this space and in the Lab’s Blog.

We are grateful for the support of the Vancouver Foundation for this important work.  This initiative is still in its early stages and more information will follow.