• May 2022
  • Vol. 23, No. 4

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Implementing Positive Youth Development Approaches in Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice

A recent working paper by Child Trends, Integrating Positive Youth Development and Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Approaches Across the Child Welfare and Justice Systems, focuses on the importance of positive youth development (PYD) approaches in child welfare. Specifically, the working paper explores the need for PYD approaches that incorporate racial equity and inclusion, why it is important to focus on young adults, and why these approaches are especially important for the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

PYD approaches involve focusing on youth's assets and building on their protective factors. These approaches can improve mental health, physical health, education, and employment outcomes for young people.

The working paper also introduces the STRENGTH model, which was designed to help organizations and communities guide and collaborate with youth. The conceptual model is structured around eight principles:
  • Systems integration
  • Trustworthy and safe
  • Relationships
  • Equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Needs met holistically
  • Growth, leadership, and opportunities to fail and learn
  • Training and education
  • Healing
 
The next phase of Child Trends' work in this area is to design a STRENGTH toolkit to provide concrete supports to programs and systems implementing PYD approaches for young adults.
 
For more information about PYD approaches, the STRENGTH model, and the coming toolkit, read Integrating Positive Youth Development and Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Approaches Across the Child Welfare and Justice Systems
 

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