The Center for Youth Development and Policy Research
was established in 1990 at the Academy for Educational Development in response
to growing concern about youth. Like many organizations, the Center is
dedicated to contributing to better futures for all youth in the United States.
We share with many the conviction that too many children and youth are at the
risk of poor outcomes because opportunities are too few, too fragmented, too
problem-focused, and too distant from family and neighborhood.
The Center's mission for the next ten years is to be both opportunistic and
strategic on a national and local level in shifting the public debate and
commitment from youth problems to youth development. Our goals are: 1) to make
"what works" available in order for youth to be productive and involved
citizens; 2) to increase the number of people, places, and possibilities
available to young people by the year 2005; 3) to strengthen and support local
systems in order to build a comprehensive youth development infrastructure; and
4) to increase public will to support positive development for all youth. At
the core of this framework are three basic tenets:
problem-free is not fully prepared
-- preventing high-risk behaviors is not enough. Our expectations for young
people must be high and clear. Positive outcomes should be defined and
monitored as carefully as negative behaviors.
academic skills are not enough
-- young people are engaged in the development of a full range of competencies
-- personal, social, vocational, health, civic. Focusing on academic
competence skews discussions of resource allocation across systems and of
teaching and learning methodologies within systems.
competence, in and of itself, is not enough
-- Skill building is best achieved when young people are confident of their
abilities, contacts and resources and called upon by their communities to use
their skills. Meeting youths' basic needs for safety, structure,
relationships, membership, independence and contribution is critical to the
development of competencies. Attention must be paid to both the content of
learning and the contexts in which the learning occurs.
To make "what works" available in order for youth to be productive and involved
To increase the number of people, places, and possibilities available to young
people by the year 2005.
To strengthen and support local systems in order to build a comprehensive youth
To increase public will to support positive development for all youth.