The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, describes positive youth development (PYD) as an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths' strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths (Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs).
Positive youth development can be divided into eight key practices, including:
- Physical and psychological safety;
- Appropriate structure;
- Supportive relationships;
- Opportunities to belong;
- Positive social norms;
- Support for efficacy and mattering;
- Opportunities for skill-building; and
- Integration of family, school, and community efforts.