Dept. of Health and Human Services

A Positive Youth Development Research Agenda

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs recognizes the importance of Positive Youth Development (PYD) and created a national Research Agenda on PYD that describes the key research domains and questions that could benefit from future research.

The Power of the Adolescent Brain: A TAG Talk

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, in collaboration with the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and Penn Translational Neuroscience Center Co-Director Dr. Frances Jensen developed a video and two discussion guides about research on adolescent brain development, functioning, and capacity.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Youth

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, there were roughly 5.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) living in the U.S., representing approximately 1.7 percent of the total U.S. population.1 This represents an 18 percent increase since the last decennial census. Of this group, more than 2.1 million American Indians and Alaska Natives are under the age of 24.2 This is approximately 42 percent of the total AI/AN population.

  • Nearly half of AI/ANs live on reservations or designated tribal lands in the western states, with the largest populations in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,3 and 60 percent live in urban communities.
  • The states with the largest proportion of AI/ANs include Alaska with nearly 15 percent of the state population,4 California with 14 percent, and Oklahoma with nearly 10 percent.5

There are 573 federally-recognized tribes in 35 states in the United States.6 Each tribe is distinct, with its own form of self-governance, culture, traditions, language, and community infrastructure. In the state of Alaska there are 229 federally-recognized tribes.7

Sovereignty is a legal word for the authority to self-govern and to protect and foster the health, safety, and welfare of AI/AN peoples within tribal territory. Essentially, tribal sovereignty refers to tribes’ inherent rights to manage their own affairs and to exist as nations. Currently, the 573 sovereign tribal nations (variously called tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, and Native villages) have a political government-to-government relationship with the U.S. government.

Tribal governments exercise jurisdiction over 100 million acres of land, that would make Indian Country the fourth largest state in the nation.8 Tribal governments are an important and unique member of the American family of governments, which includes tribal governments, the U.S. federal government, and the U.S. states. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that tribal nations are sovereign governments.

As members of tribes, AI/AN people have both an ethnic and political status. As governments, tribes exercise substantial governing powers within their territory, including regulating research. Similar to federal and state governments, tribes have sovereign power over their lands, citizens, and related affairs.

As a result of the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government, the federal government is obligated by a responsibility relationship to protect tribal resources. Federal policies are designed to further the trust relationship including offering certain social services such as education and health, and support for tribal services provision. Previous federal policies of forced removal of AI/AN tribes from their traditional homelands, and forced assimilation of AI/AN people into mainstream America have exacerbated some of the social service needs of AI/AN youth.

Although tribes and their governments vary widely, to be a member of a tribe means to share a common bond that may include ancestry, kinship, language, culture, ceremonies, and political authority with other members. AI/AN tribes are working diligently to reverse the negative impacts of poverty, historical and intergenerational trauma, health, education, and justice disparities to ensure the future, health, and well-being of their members.

Resources

Native American Youth 101: Information on the Historical Context and Current Status of Indian Country and Native American Youth (PDF, 10 pages)
This resource provides information on the historical context and current status of Indian country and Native American youth.

The Center for Native American Youth
The Center for Native American Youth was developed to improve the health, safety, and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy.

The National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians provides several channels to support Native youth, including the NCAI Youth Commission, the National Native Youth Cabinet, NDN Spark, and internships and fellowships. In 2011 and 2012 NCAI collaborated with the Department of Justice to host the National Indian Youth Summit.

References

1 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes in the United States and Puerto Rico: 2010, 2011
2 Native American Youth 101, n.d.
3 Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008
4 U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone’
5 U.S. Census Bureau, 2012, race counted as ‘Native American and Alaska Native alone or in combination’
6 Bureau of Indian Affairs, 2014
7 U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Affairs, 2016
8 National Congress of American Indians, n.d.

The Crisis of Connection for Adolescent Boys: A TAG Talk

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, in collaboration with the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and New York University Professor of Developmental Psychology Niobe Way developed a video and two discussion guides about the crisis of connection, its impact on the health and well-being of adolescent boys, and the implications for their work with teens.

HHS and DOJ host listening session with youth who have an incarcerated parent

The effects of incarceration are felt far beyond prison walls: children, families, and communities also experience the consequences of incarceration.

New Brief Highlights the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth in Child Welfare Settings

A recent brief from the Permanency Innovations Initiative highlights how research is helping us to better understand the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in child welfare settings. The brief presents findings from qualitative interviews conducted with youth participating in the Recognize, Intervene,

Connecting Partners and Resources to Prepare Youth for Careers: A Federal Partners in Transition Webinar

In November 2015, the Federal Partners in Transition, a workgroup with representatives of several federal agencies, including the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and the Social Security Administration, hosted their inaugural joint transition webinar.

Round 1 Pilot Site Announcement

The following is cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Education's blog, published October 29, 2015. See the original blog post here.

We all share the goal of improving education, employment, and other key outcomes for youth, especially those who are disconnected from Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youthwork, school, or other social supports. Today, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs is pleased to join with the interagency Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) initiative in announcing nine pilots to improve outcomes for this underserved population. These pilots give state, local, and tribal governments an opportunity to test innovative new strategies to improve such outcomes for low-income disconnected youth ages 14 to 24, including youth who are in foster care, homeless, young parents, involved in the justice system, unemployed, or who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.

The idea is simple: P3 gives communities greater flexibility to use the federal dollars they already have more effectively, and they agree to be more accountable for concrete outcomes. This first set of pilots will test flexibility with federal youth-serving funds in diverse environments across America, including urban, rural, and tribal communities. Pilot sites include:

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Broward County, Florida
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Los Angeles, California
  • The State of Oklahoma
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Southeastern Kentucky, including Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry Counties
  • Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

Pilots will implement solutions that include, for example, helping low-income moms acquire the skills to become better parents while gaining valuable job experience through childcare internships, helping foster youth successfully transition from high school to college or employment, and intervening with the highest-risk youth before they drop out of high school. In the coming weeks, Federal agencies and these sites will finalize performance agreements that will support the pilot’s work and outline the outcomes these solutions will be measured against.

Led by the Department of Education, P3 brings together six federal agencies including the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Justice as well as the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute for Museum and Library Services to help communities address common barriers. For example, practitioners and advocates on the front lines of service delivery have let agencies know that better outcomes are hindered sometimes by programmatic and administrative obstacles, such as fragmented data systems and program stovepipes resulting in poor coordination. P3 pilots can tackle these challenges more effectively by blending together certain federal funds that they already receive from the participating agencies and by acquiring new waivers and flexibility under federal statutes, regulations, and other requirements.

The P3 model emphasizes evidence and learning, both within communities and at a national level. The P3 competition asked sites to match existing evidence of what works with community challenges identified through a needs assessment and to demonstrate how they will use reliable data to guide decision-making and be accountable for better outcomes. All nine pilots responded to the competition’s incentive to rigorously evaluate the impact of at least one component of their on-site approach. Federal agencies will also conduct a national cross-site evaluation of how pilots implement the P3 model, their strategies, challenges, and outcomes. Findings will help strengthen how agencies and the field address disconnected youth needs in the future.

The zipcode a young person is born in should never determine his or her outcomes in life. To help prepare for the second P3 competition, which will be held this winter, the Department of Education has released a Notice of Proposed Priorities on behalf of participating agencies to seek ideas from the field on strengthening this important initiative and empowering communities to think big about reconnecting youth.

>> Click here for the U.S. Department of Education's press release on this announcement.

Update: Performance Partnership Pilots (P3) Notice of Proposed Priorities

Group of YouthIt’s an exciting time for Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3)! The participating federal agencies have two major updates to share with stakeholders on this initiative in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for low-income youth who are disconnected from work, school, or other social supports.

  • We’re inviting your feedback on how to strengthen our work. On behalf of the six participating agencies, the Department of Education has released a Notice of Proposed Priorities (NPP) that lays out priorities, requirements, definitions, and selection criteria for our second round of P3 pilots as well as competitions that may be held in later years. The NPP tries to build on lessons learned in our first round of pilot selection. Because P3 is meant to support states, tribes, and localities in improving outcomes for disconnected youth, we need your input to improve the process for reviewing and selecting pilots. Please provide comments by November 23rd.
  • We’re getting close to announcing the first round of pilots. Participating agencies are currently working to finalize P3 performance agreements with nine sites. We look forward to making an official announcement and sharing more information about the pilots in the coming weeks.

» Click here to learn more about Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth

Guide for Incarcerated Parents Who Have Children in the Child Welfare System

A new guide helps parents involved in the criminal justice system work with the child welfare system to stay involved with their children and understand the reunification process.