Positive youth development (PYD) is an intentional strengths-based approach used to help youth and young adults feel empowered and able to make decisions that positively impact their lives. It’s imperative that young people, especially those involved with the foster care system, are afforded opportunities to learn, grow, and connect with their peers, communities, and families in a constructive manner, resulting in greater personal, educational, and professional outcomes. No one can do this alone, therefore it’s important that connected adults in a young person’s life know about opportunities for positive asset building and help youth take advantage of the strength principles associated with this approach.
Resources on this page provide an overview of PYD, its impact on youth and young adults involved in the foster care system, and State and national examples of youth development opportunities.
- Positive youth development
- Positive youth development national examples
- Positive youth development State and local examples
Building Co-Regulation Capacity to Support Positive Development for Youth With Foster Care Experience: Convening Summary
Murray, Sepulveda, & Rackers (2021)
Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Details the results of a convening of experts who met to discuss how co-regulation for youth with foster care experience impacts relationships, environments, and day-to-day interactions.
How to Use the PYD Framework During Key Phases of Program Design and Evaluation
Integrates essential aspects of PYD into phases of program design, implementation, and evaluation.
Integrating Positive Youth Development Into Programs
Examines effective methods for implementing PYD principles into existing youth-serving organizations.
Integrating Positive Youth Development and Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Approaches Across the Child Welfare and Justice Systems
Highlights the growing need to engage those with lived expertise, specifically young people, on integrating a PYD approach in racial equity and inclusion especially within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Implementing Positive Youth Development Programs
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2022)
Offers a summary of the collective work of five local partnerships that worked to connect young adults of color and from low-income families with meaningful employment through systems improvements.
Positive Youth Development: Best Activities & Training Programs
Describes the importance of PYD; an explanation of framework, models, and theories; examples of successful programs; and activities and tools to build up positive youth development efforts.
Positive Youth Development Measurement Toolkit (PDF - 1,949 KB)
Hinson, Kapungu, Jessee, Skinner, Bardini, & Evans-Whipp (2017)
Offers a set of indicators that can be used to evaluate PYD programming, including an overview of PYD and considerations for adapting these indicators and measures in local efforts.
Positive Youth Development and Resiliency
Youth Collaboratory (2019)
Discusses the essential elements of PYD, including what mentoring conversations can and should look like when working with youth and young adults and the specific impact that is felt by youth with incarcerated parents or other family members.
4-H Programs at a Glance
Highlights local chapters of 4-H youth development programs. 4-H is a federally mandated national organization that provides youth programs in science, healthy living, and citizenship through local 4-H clubs, 4-H camps, as well as in school and after school.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Highlights the nationwide PYD program focused on creating mentoring relationships between adults and children.
National Guard Youth Challenge Program
Provides information about the National Guard Youth Challenge program, which is designed to help youth who have dropped out of high school obtain their GED and build practical skills over a 17-month period.
Provides opportunities for youth to become involved in community service opportunities in their neighborhoods.
Self Enhancement, Inc.
Identifies at-risk urban youth in Oregon and provides them with mentoring relationships and access to academic support.
Youth as Resources
Trains Baltimore-based youth in community organizing, project planning, and grant writing to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to address problems in their communities and bring about positive change.