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Criteria for prioritizing

Selecting Criteria

Coming up with criteria to compare different issues against can give you a structured way to have a conversation with staff. Some criteria that other youth-serving organizations have used include: safety, liability, frequency, impact on youth, complexity, approvals needed, and impact.

Download a sample rating sheet

Are youth or staff in any immediate safety risk? For example:

  • Young people or staff are bullying or commiting violence against one another motivated by racism, sexism, classism, ablism, homophobia, or transphobia
  • Young people or staff are perpetrating sexual harassment or sexual violence with one another or staff in the program
  • Staff are crossing boundaries of young people or other staff in the program; verbally, physically, or sexually
  • Young people are in unhealthy or abusive dating relationships with other youth in or outside of the program
  • Young people or staff in rival neighborhoods or gangs are bringing weapons or threats into the program
  • Liability

 Is the organization at risk? For example:

  •  Check your compliance status with legal requirements like mandated reporting
  • Frequency

Is this a hot topic right now? This could make you rate this issue as a higher priority, or lower if it is too hot. For example:

  • If a staff person from another agency has been accused of sexual abuse and the story is in the media
  • Impact on youth
  • If they haven’t brought it to your attention, but you think it is impacting them, create a survey for youth to rank on a scale of 1-10 how concerned they are about this issue
  • How many youth have brought this issue to your attention in the past year?
  • Is this something that will directly impact the youth in your program, such as creating a new program, a new behavior policy, changing the dresscode, instituting mandatory calls home every week, etc. 
  • Complexity of solution

Does this seem like a simple problem to solve? For example:

  • Adding one new question to an already existing intake form as compared writing up and implementing an annual training for all staff on mental health concerns
  • Approval from agency
  • If your program is part of a larger organization, who would you need to get approval from? How complicated will this be?
  • Impact on ability to do your job
  • Is this an issue you have to deal with everyday?
  • Is this an issue that is directly related to accomplishing your mission?

Download a sample rating sheet.