Photo of local elementary students presenting a neighborhood plan to the Planning Commission

Child and Youth Engagement Strategy

Project Status: Ongoing

The Child and Youth Engagement Strategy aims to bring more youth voices, especially those who identify as American Indian, Black, or other youth of color, into San Francisco Planning’s conversations to plan for an inclusive and sustainable City.

We are continuing virtual classroom sessions to receive feedback from youth on the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy through Spring 2021. An overview of the Strategy was last presented at the April 19, 2021 Youth Commission meeting.

Youth provide unique and fresh voices to the conversation about how to create and plan for a great city. 

A component of the Planning Department’s Racial and Social Equity Action Plan, the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy seeks to engage with local youth into city planning conversations. By taking an active role in the city planning process, San Francisco’s children and youth, especially those from American Indian, Black, and other communities of color, will have the opportunity to help shape the right choices for an inclusive and equitable future city where everyone can thrive.

Specifically, the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy will:

  1. Identify steps in which the Planning Department staff can engage children and youth in outreach and engagement processes;
  2. Develop methods of introducing San Francisco’s children and youth to the City Planning profession, and aim to create a career pipeline where the Planning Department staff are reflective of youth in San Francisco; and,
  3. Develop strategies and action items for long-term and sustainable child and youth engagement activities for the San Francisco Planning Department.

Related Projects

Check out our Storymap to learn more about the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy’s action items, some of the Planning Department’s past child and youth engagement activities, and opportunities to get involved: CLICK HERE FOR STORYMAP

From summer to fall 2020, San Francisco Planning worked with an intern to develop the foundations of the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy. Below is a summary of the process and milestones to develop the Strategy. 

Research Phase Key Activities and Deliverables
Connect & Understand
  • Document Review, Models for a child and youth engagement strategy
  • 10+ Case Studies
  • 6 External Interviews 
  • 15 Internal Staff Interviews
  • 4 Youth Sessions
Analyze & Define
  • Identify best & worst practices from experts and case studies
  • Insights to describe perspectives and existing conditions of the Planning Department 
Imagine & Create
  • Develop draft vision and mission based on input from staff & research
  • Develop recommendations 
  • Presentation to the Planning Department of Child and Youth Engagement Strategy August 2020
Test & Refine
  • Refine strategy based on Initial Feedback
  • Develop and Define concepts to pilot in Fall 2020
  • Pilot processes and concepts with focus groups 
  • Partners (Teachers children and Youth)
  • Feedback from Planning Department , community partners, children and youth
Document & Report
  • Document the research and development process of creating the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy
  • Document implementation progress
  • Develop a public-facing document or deliverable that shares the strategy’s background


The development and implementation of the Child and Youth Engagement Strategy strives to integrate perspectives from and collaborate with various stakeholders, including Planning Department staff, schools, community organizations, and children and youth themselves with a focus on young people ages 5 to 17 and who identify as American Indian, Black, and other communities of color. 

San Francisco Planning will also seek ways to expand outreach and engagement to young people who are often excluded from institutions, such as people ages 19 to 25, living without a home, and/or who are not connected with  any community organizations.

If you are interested in any of the opportunities below, please submit a form.

Current Opportunities:

Job Shadow at the San Francisco Planning Department
San Francisco Planning hosts job shadow days. Come learn about the Department and opportunities to participate in City decision-making processes.

Attend Planning 101 Sessions at the Planning Department
Planning Department staff present an overview of our roles and responsibilities. This includes a broad introduction to each of our department’s divisions, including Current Planning, Citywide (Long Range) Planning, Environmental Planning, and Administration.

Co-create Curriculum and Civic-Based Projects
Teachers and community partners can collaborate with Planning Department staff to bring unit-relevant curriculum, such as “Getting to Know Your Neighborhood,” to the classroom. This introduces students to the idea and process of city planning while offering opportunities to see real world examples.

Intern with the Planning Department’s Young Planners Program (High School Students Only)
San Francisco Planning partners with the YouthWorks Internship Program to annually place high school interns to work at Planning. Applications are available in the spring before the summer session begins. Opportunities for Summer 2021 have been filled. Please check back Spring 2022 for the Summer 2022 program.