• November 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 10

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Building Healthy Relationships to Improve Outcomes

Teens and young adults need to develop a variety of life skills to help them attain life goals, both personal and economic. Education is a vital aspect of attaining these goals, and so is job training and career development. But there are other life skills that can significantly impact a young person's success, as well as the well-being of their own children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation published a report on the importance of healthy relationship skills in the economic success and well-being of disadvantaged teens and young adults. Child welfare and related professionals can help teens and youth find programs and services aimed at building healthy relationship skills to help ensure positive outcomes for both youth and their children.

The report summarizes research on the increase in births of children outside of marriage and its impact on a widening income gap and poor outcomes in children. In the past few years, the Foundation has worked on strategies aimed at helping pregnant and parenting youth form and maintain healthy, two-parent relationships or marriages (when desired and appropriate). Starting in 2007, the Foundation partnered with the National Crittenton Foundation (NCF) and YouthBuild USA on initiatives to work with and support youth in building healthy relationship skills. NCF offers life-skills training to girls who are at risk or system involved and, with the aid of a Foundation grant, is developing a curriculum on healthy relationships for residents in two pilot sites. A Federal project of the Department of Labor that helps youth earning their high school diploma or GED gain job skills, YouthBuild USA developed a healthy relationship curriculum with the support of another Foundation grant, which it tested with 6 pilot programs and later expanded to 10 more programs.

When pregnant and parenting teens and youth have the skills to recognize and build the foundations of healthy relationships, they improve their own chances for life success. When children have parents that are in stable relationships, they also tend to have more positive social and economic outcomes.

To learn more about Annie E. Casey's work on this topic, read More Than Jobs: Providing Disadvantaged Teens and Young Adults With Healthy Relationship Skills as a Strategy to Reduce Poverty and Improve Child Well-Being:

http://www.dibbleinstitute.org/NEWDOCS/reports/MoreThanJobs-SummaryReport.pdf (5 MB)

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