This paper argues that attention to theory and practice relating to civic and political engagement (CPE) can lead to a stronger value orientation among social workers towards human rights and social justice when working with marginalised young people. Based on findings of a study based on three European cities (Dublin, Belfast and London), we demonstrate the potential for social work to embrace a specific focus on CPE as a means of achieving greater human rights and social justice for marginalised youth. Speaking specifically to the purpose of social work to promote active social citizenship within the context of social work paradigms, we discuss how a critical consideration of learning from research can be used to advance transformative social work practices. We outline ways CPE strategies can be used with young people, their families and communities to promote partnership and maximise the positive potential of proactive involvement in civic and political matters affecting their own lives. We conclude that CPE could be used more widely, in the context of citizenship based social work, to enhance the potential for transformative human rights and social justice practice with marginalised young people.