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
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:
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:
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.