The Headroom Model: A conceptual and practical description

Angela Lawless, Katherine Biedrzycki

In April 2008 the Centre for Health Promotion (CHP), Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service (CYWHS) contracted the SA Community Health Research Unit (SACHRU) to undertake this project. The aim of the project was to document the Headroom model of youth participation. This had been identified in the Review of Headroom (Auseinet, 2007) as a key factor in the success of the program which, paradoxically, had never been documented. It is perhaps misleading to speak of a singular Headroom model of participation because in fact the model evolved as the project matured and responded to changing circumstances. In order to capture the development and evolution of the model interviews were conducted with key stakeholders including program staff and members of the core youth group. Organisational and professional commitment to youth participation; skills development of both staff and young people; and an underlying belief that youth participation will result in better outcomes were identified as key principles underpinning the program. These principles have supported the development of trusting and meaningful relationships with young people. They have also provided a foundation for the development of flexible processes and a meaningful journey for program participants.

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