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Building Strong Community Foundations for Children & Youth

Developed by the South Fraser Valley Regional Child & Youth Committee in partnership with Fraser Region Community Justice Initiatives Association

About the 40
Developmental Assets

Asset Building

Asset Building

The Fraser
Region Project



What children & youth need to succeed!


The Developmental Assets framework was first developed by the USA-based Search Institute which conducted extensive research on behaviours, attitudes and experiences of more than two million youth across North America over a period of nearly 20 years. The results pointed to 40 protective factors—Developmental Assets—that are key to healthy development.


The Developmental Assets are defined as positive experiences, qualities, behaviours and characteristics

that youth and children need in order to grow up to become healthy and successful adults.   


The 40 Developmental Assets are divided into two groups (internal and external assets) with eight subcategories:

Internal Assets:

  • support

  • empowerment

  • boundaries and expectations

  • constructive use of time

External Assets:

  • commitment to learning

  • positive values

  • social competencies

  • positive identity

For a complete list of
the 40 Developmental
Assets click here.

The 40 Developmental Assets have gained recognition as a grassroots framework for positive youth development within many different communities. Its philosophy emphasizes the need for us to view each other, and youth in particular, positively, equally, and non-judgmentally. This is a strength-based approach—identifying and building on positive attributes in children and youth—as opposed to the common problem-based approaches, such as programs that target “at-risk” children and youth. It urges communities to develop ways to support youth rather than further shame them when they make a mistake. It encourages the need for adults to genuinely try to understand youth perspectives and to recognize the importance of young people in our communities. They are, after all, our future! 


Applying the 40 Developmental Assets is simply about adopting a philosophy around the way we view and interact with children and youth on a daily basis:

  • value, respect and care about every child and youth, as opposed to viewing them as potential risks or troublemakers

  • shift our mentalities from fear and frustration to genuine care and support

  • view youth as resources, not as problems

  • create stronger community bonds

  • disintegrate the generational divide between the age groups

The 40 Developmental Assets should be used as a guideline for how we interact and build relationships with children and youth. It is not necessary to learn each individual asset, but to grasp the importance of each category and the overall philosophy. These are generally very common-sense types of concepts, yet our communities have somehow lost sight of the importance of supplying these necessary qualities to our children and youth. Building Assets offers an opportunity to provide these needs to our children and youth in a way that will offer them the strength to make positive and healthy choices throughout their lives.