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July/August 2024Vol. 25, No. 6Examining the Importance of Developmental Relationships for Young People

Developmental relationships—or relationships with supportive adults and peers—are critical for young people, especially young people who grow up in challenging circumstances like the child welfare system.

Developmental relationships have many benefits, including helping young people shape their lives, build resilience, and thrive. These connections can take many forms and may occur with family, in the classroom, in youth programs, and in faith communities. A recent guide from Search Institute, Developmental Relationships Help Young People Thrive, highlights the importance of these relationships and outlines strategies to intentionally create them within schools, families, programs, and communities.

The guide provides an overview of a developmental relationships framework, which is made up of five elements:

  1. Express care
  2. Challenge growth
  3. Provide support
  4. Share power
  5. Expand possibilities

It also includes tools and links to resources to help organizations, leaders, and practitioners learn about young people’s experiences and create pathways to intentionally build relationships. Explore the guide for more information.