We, the undersigned organizations, call on each other, our communities, our representatives and our decision makers in particular, as well as our society at large, to uphold and apply the following principles to ensure Justice for Young Families:
1) We uphold the self-determination and dignity of young people and respect their decision-making, including their decision about whether or not to become parents.
2) We claim pregnant and parenting youth as vital members of our communities and society at large – members whose health, rights and dignity are to be defended.
3) Pregnant and parenting youth have the right, as do all youth, to receive support to successfully continue with, and achieve, their educational and career goals. Support for pregnant and parenting youth includes child-care, health care, housing assistance, job training and other economic opportunities.
4) Pregnant, parenting and non-parenting youth must have access to culturally relevant and gender-sensitive health services and educational, material, economic and emotional support.
5) All young people deserve respectful and loving acknowledgement of their whole-selves – including their intellect, body, sexual orientation, gender expression and sexuality – as part of their right to develop healthy identities.
6) Young people of all genders, sexualities, abilities, and immigration statuses have the right to parent the children they have.
7) All young people deserve the right to comprehensive sexual health education and access to quality sexual and reproductive health services.
8) We understand that the health and wellness of young parents and their children is our shared responsibility, and as such, must be reflected in our organizational policies as well as in the public policies we support.
9) We hold our government and society accountable for ensuring that pregnant, parenting and non-parenting youth, including those most disenfranchised – homeless, currently and formerly incarcerated, immigrant and foster youth – are provided equitable means to access social supports.
10) In order to ensure adequate support for pregnant and parenting youth, we will hold our government representatives responsible for expanding, creating, or reinstating public programs that successfully impact their lives.
We will hold ourselves and our communities, leaders, policymakers and society accountable for advancing these principles and improving the lives of ALL YOUNG PEOPLE – whether they be pregnant, parenting, or non-parenting youth.
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