Positive Youth Development 101
- Child Welfare Workers
- Child Welfare Supervisors
- Social Services Non-child Welfare
- Caregivers and Potential Caregivers
Targeted Age Group(s)
- 18 or older
QIC-EY Engagement Model Components (i) The engagement model components were identified through the QIC-EY Environmental Scan as critical to the support of youth engagement in the attainment of permanence.
- Engage Specialized Staff
- Support Youth Empowerment
Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a philosophy or approach that guides communities in the way they organize programs, supports and opportunities so that young people can develop to their full potential. Positive Youth Development 101 is a training curriculum developed in 2015 and updated in 2021 by Jutta Dotterweich of Cornell University’s ACT for Youth Center for Community Action in collaboration with partners. The goals of Positive Youth Development 101 are to increase knowledge and skills of new professionals, to establish a common language among professionals engaging in youth work and to develop skills in youth-centered learning approaches.
The curriculum aims to provide an orientation to the youth development approach for professionals new to the field of youth work. It was designed in five distinct sections that can be delivered as stand-alone workshops: Positive Youth Development, Positive Youth Outcomes, Youth Voice and Engagement, Youth Development Programming and Youth Worker Competencies.
ACT for Youth has gathered numerous tools and resources to support youth-serving professionals and organizations interested in establishing and sustaining a positive, youth development approach. Resources include, among others, the Supervisor’s PYD Toolkit, the Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit and the Creating Inclusive Program Environments for Youth with Different Abilities curriculum. All can be found on the ACT for Youth website in the Youth Work Professionals section.
Drawing on an experiential learning model, the curriculum uses a range of small-group and large-group activities to allow for active participation, discussion and reflection in combination with short lectures, informative handouts and Web-based resources. Each of the five sections takes roughly 2–2.5 hours to deliver. The full curriculum requires roughly 12 hours of training time. It can be presented in two full days, in several half days or in shorter sections delivered over several weeks. The recommended group size is 14-20 participants. Facilitators should have youth work experience and should be very familiar with the theory and concepts of positive youth development. Skills in teaching and group facilitation are required.
The curriculum, activity worksheets, handouts, slides, pre- and post-tests, and feedback forms are available to download from: https://www.actforyouth.net/youth_development/professionals/manual.cfm. ACT for Youth also offers free, online courses based on the PYD 101 curriculum. The online version of Positive Youth Development 101 is a series of short, stand-alone courses, each about 30 minutes long. They may be taken in any order at one’s own pace.