Dept. of Health and Human Services

September is National Recovery Month

Each September, thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and services around the country celebrate their successes and share them with their neighbors, friends, and colleagues in an effort to educate the public about recovery, how it works, for whom, and why.

Promising Strategies and Existing Gaps in Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens

In recent years, the federal government has made investments toward building a scientific evidence base of effective programs and models addressing teen pregnancy prevention. In addition, funding was made available to provide services to pregnant and parenting teens, who need strong support networks and a comprehensive array of resources to help them transition to parenthood and adulthood and improve their educational outcomes.

The CITY Project

The Community Improvement Through Youth (CITY) Project uses Youth Community Action, a Cornell Cooperative Extension Signature Program, as a model for promoting civic engagement, workforce preparation, and asset development among youth (13-18 years old) in New York State’s Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Project. Using a broad-based community collaboration approach, the CITY Project is working in Broome County and New York City to empower at-risk youth to become community change agents.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Social Media Web Page

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed social media tools and messages available to support teen pregnancy prevention efforts. CDC's new Teen Pregnancy and Social Media web page is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/TeenPregnancy/SocialMedia/index.htm

This page provides free, easy-to-use communication tools that can help expand the reach of health messages and help increase public engagement. Tools include:

Strengthening Families to Prevent Teen Drug Use

Experts say one way to prevent young people from using drugs is to strengthen family relationships, so that youth develop an open and trusting relationship with parents. "Parenting Wisely," an online-based SAMHSA-model program developed by Family Works, Inc., teaches parents how to better communicate with their teenage kids and disciplinary strategies that can help gain their children's trust.

The Voices of Young People Highlight the SSRHY Annual Meeting

Support Systems for Rural Homeless Youth (SSRHY) is a 5-year, 6-state collaborative demonstration funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) with the Children’s Bureau (CB) as a supporting partner.  SSRHY is aimed at improving adult outcomes for rural youth who are approaching young adulthood and independence but who have few or no connections to a supportive family or community resources.  This includes runaway and homeless youth and youth transitioning out of foster care.

Youth Speakers Share Their Hopes for the Future

I know now it's not where I'm from; it's where I'm going. It's not what I drive; it's what drives me. It's not what's on me; it's what's in me. And it's not what I think; it's what I know. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. And that's exactly what I plan to do: I will make my own trail and set my own goals. — Chardae Anderson, age 18

October 14, 2009

Afterschool Programs

Afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time) serve children and youth of all ages, and encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, youth development, arts, and sports and recreation. The activities in which children and youth engage while outside of school hours are critical to their development, highlighting the need for quality afterschool programs in all communities. The demand for afterschool programs is strong; current estimates suggest that nearly 10 million children and youth participate in afterschool programs annually, 10 million in summer camps, and 6 million in 4-H programs alone (Yohalem, Pittman, and Edwards, 2010).

High quality afterschool programs generate positive outcomes for youth including improved academic performance, classroom behavior, and health and nutrition. Communities and businesses also benefit when youth have safe and productive ways to spend their time while their parents are at work. Several Federal agencies provide support and resources to afterschool programs to help promote positive outcomes for youth. Explore the articles and links on this page to learn more about afterschool.


Yohalem, N., Pittman, K., & Edwards, S. (2010).  Strengthening the youth development/after-school workforce: Lessons learned and implications for funders. Washington, DC: The Forum for Youth Investment and Cornerstones for Kids.

Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3)

Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth offer a unique opportunity to test innovative, cost-effective, and outcome-focused strategies for improving results for disconnected youth. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (see p. 409 of the linked PDF) first provided authority to the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services along with the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and related agencies to enter into up to 10 Performance Partnership agreements with states, regions, localities, or tribal communities that give them additional flexibility in using discretionary funds across multiple Federal programs. Since 2014, P3 has expanded to include certain programs from the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development. Pilot sites will commit to achieve significant improvements for disconnected youth in educational, employment, and other key outcomes in exchange for this new flexibility. For P3, statute defines disconnected youth as individuals between the ages of 14 and 24 who are low income and either homeless, in foster care, involved in the juvenile justice system, unemployed, or not enrolled in or at risk of dropping out of an educational institution.

The resources below provide more information on P3 opportunities. Questions can be directed to disconnectedyouth@ed.gov.

Positive Youth Development

Positive Experiences + Positive Relationships + Positive Environments = Positive Youth Development

Based on the literature, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, a collaboration of 21 federal departments and agencies that support youth, has created the following definition of positive youth development (PYD):

PYD is an intentional, prosocial 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 young people’s 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.

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs developed a research agenda focused on positive youth development. Through a collaborative consensus-building process, representatives from federal agencies identified three research domains (conceptual issues, data sources and indicators, and program implementation and effectiveness) and key research questions that could benefit from future research.

PYD has its origins in the field of prevention. In the past, prevention efforts typically focused on single problems before they surfaced in youth, such as teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency.

Over time, practitioners, policymakers, funders, and researchers determined that promoting positive asset building and considering young people as resources were critical strategies. As a result, the youth development field began examining the role of resiliency — the protective factors in a young person's environment — and how these factors could influence one's ability to overcome adversity. Those factors included, but were not limited to, family support and monitoring; caring adults; positive peer groups; strong sense of self, self-esteem, and future aspirations; and engagement in school and community activities.

Researchers and practitioners began to report that young people who possess a diverse set of protective factors can, in fact, experience more positive outcomes. These findings encouraged the development of interventions and programs that reduce risks and strengthen protective factors. The programs and interventions are strengthened when they involve and engage youth as equal partners, ultimately providing benefits for both for the program and the involved youth.