How you decide to roll out your policy will impact the response and whether or not your staff and youth follow through with it. Hopefully, throughout this process you have been talking to stakeholders; holding meetings, having discussions, researching best practices, and you have created a policy that reflects everyone’s input, even if it varies from the suggestions you've received. Now you'll want to test your policy to see if it works.
Look back at your Action Plan. Who has been involved? It is time for them to come back and read over the new policy. Are there any gaping holes? Hopefully you have a group made up of staff, parents, youth, and subject area providers who can weigh in from the varying perspectives.
Sometimes we don't know if a policy works until we actually put it in motion. But you want to be able to stop it if you got something wrong. Maybe you put sexual health posters up in the hallway without realizing that a group of elementary school students walks by every afternoon and they are now asking questions that are not age-appropriate. Or you didn't realize that your new social media policy didn't include program alumni until after a staff person friends an older youth on facebook who has aged out of your program. Give the new policy a brief, temporary time frame during which you will "try it on" to see if it is meeting the needs of your program.
When you let people know about the new policy, it is important to be clear about why you created this policy, how it reflects your organizational mission and goals, and how it reflects the best practices suggested by experts in the field. Some of the ways that you can make people aware of your new policy are listed below. You should consider the benefits and challenges to each of these methods.
• A meeting
• An e-mail
• Brochures, posters, or other materials
• Staff training on how to implement the new policy
• Youth trainings
• Newsletter home to parents