Safety

Resource: 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results

The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System results present a promising picture for some behaviors and experiences among high school students; however, other areas reveal that teens are still engaging in behaviors that put them at risk.

Resource: Dear Adult Leaders: #ListenToYouth

This four-week series from America's Promise Alliance and The 74 shares open letters from high school students to decision-makers in their states and communities that call for specific actions to address issues that arose from a recent town hall as top-of-mind for young people. One call to action was abundantly clear: young people want decision-makers to take their ideas and experiences into consideration. Not only because it’s the right thing to do—it’s also the smart thing to do.

Resources to Support Youth and Families During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak

These can be difficult times for young people and those who work with them. Learn more about the respiratory illness coronavirus COVID-19 here. Below are resources on topics affecting youth and how supportive adults can help. Click on the arrows to find resources on each topic.

Resources by Topic

Child Care

Resource: Tip Sheets on Everyday Parenting Topics

These tip sheets are designed for service providers to share with parents and caregivers in the context of a particular concern or question. They can be downloaded individually or as a packet in English and Spanish.

Resource: UPDATED COVID-19 Guidance for School Settings

CDC’s Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) updated Guidance for School Settings is based on what is currently known about the transmission and severity of coronavirus disease and will be updated as needed and as additional information becomes available.

Resource: Safer In​ternet Day

OJJDP’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces are highlighting Safer Internet Day, which is an awareness-raising campaign to promote the safe and respectful use of digital technology, especially among children and youth.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention efforts should aim to reduce factors that place youth at risk for perpetrating violence and promote factors that protect youth at risk for violence. In addition, prevention should address all types of influences on youth violence: individual, relationship, community, and society. Effective prevention strategies are necessary to promote awareness about youth violence and to foster the commitment to social change.

Youth violence prevention continues to advance rapidly. Many prevention tools have been developed and implemented; many of these prevention programs and strategies have been evaluated and found to be effective at preventing violence and related behaviors among youth. Such evidence-based programs have shown positive effects in rigorous evaluations.

Resources

A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors
CDC developed this technical package to help states and communities take advantage of the best available evidence to prevent youth violence.

Collaborative Efforts Needed to Address Youth Violence
This web page from SAMHSA describes initiatives designed to promote healthy children and prevent youth violence through a collaborative approach.

CrimeSolutions.gov
The National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov is comprised of two components: a web-based clearinghouse of programs and practices and a process for identifying and rating those programs and practices.

Model Programs Guide
OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide contains information about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. It is a resource for practitioners and communities about what works, what is promising, and what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency prevention, and child protection and safety.

STRYVE Strategy Selector
This CDC tool is designed for any practitioner or community seeking information on how to prevent youth violence. It combines rigorous evaluation science with the flexibility required for communities to devise a tailored approach to youth violence prevention.

Risk and Protective Factors

No single factor explains why some youth perpetrate or become a victim of violence or why violence is more prevalent in some places than others. Violence results from a complex interplay of a variety of factors.

Understanding the range of factors that put youth at risk for violence or protect them from experiencing or perpetrating violence makes it possible to develop comprehensive, multilevel, evidence-basedstrategies to prevent and eliminate violence and improve overall child well-being.

Individual

Biological and personal history factors can increase the likelihood of becoming a victim or perpetrator of violence. These can include physical and cognitive challenges (e.g., fetal alcohol disorders, learning disorders), impulsive or aggressive tendencies, history of trauma (including involvement with foster care and homelessness), exposure to violence, and involvement with drugs or alcohol.

Other factors can buffer young people from the risks of becoming violent, even if they have experienced the other kinds of risk factors listed above. These include academic achievement, high educational aspirations, positive social orientation, and highly developed social skills/competencies.

Relationships

The close relationships in a young person’s life can either increase or reduce the risk of experiencing violence as a victim or perpetrator. A person’s closest social circle—-peers, partners, and family members—influences their behavior and contributes to their experience. 

Risk factors at the family level include: authoritarian childrearing attitudes, low parental involvement, poor family functioning, and parental substance abuse or history of criminal involvement. Peer and social risk factors include involvement in gangs and social rejection by peers. 

Protective factors that can reduce the risk of violence include connectedness to family or other caring adults, frequent and positive shared activities with parents, positive engagement with teachers in supportive school climates, and involvement in prosocial activities.

School, Community, and Society

Other factors often overlooked are settings in which social relationships occur, such as schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Characteristics of these settings can increase or decrease the risk of violence. Broad societal factors can also play a role since they can create a climate in which violence is either encouraged or inhibited. 

Risk factors can include aspects of the built environment (e.g., high concentrations of poor residents, design factors, such as open and green spaces, lighting, etc.), social environment (e.g., diminished economic opportunities, low levels of community participation, socially disorganized neighborhoods), community-level trauma (e.g., historical trauma, chronic exposure to violence), other environmental factors (e.g., lead and other toxic substances and their relationship to neurological functioning and brain development), prevailing cultural and societal norms, and the interaction of youth and families with community institutions, including schools, police, courts, child welfare agencies. 

Protective factors at the community and societal level have been less studied than protective factors at the individual and relationship level. Factors that appear to buffer against the risk of violence include coordination of resources and services among community agencies, access to mental health and substance abuse services, and community support and connectedness.

Resources

Adverse Childhood Experiences
Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future youth violence victimization and perpetration. This CDC web page contains related information and resources.

Connecting the Dots: An Overview of the Links Among Multiple Forms of Violence
A briefing document published by CDC in 2014 to share research on the connections between different forms of violence and describe how these connections affect communities. 

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: A Technical Package for Policy, Norm, and Programmatic Activities
This technical package (PDF, 52 pages) from the CDC includes a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Communities and states can use this resource as they prioritize child abuse and neglect prevention activities.

Protective Factors Against Delinquency
A literature review funded by OJJDP, published in 2015.

Risk Factors for Delinquency
A literature review funded by OJJDP, published in 2015.

Youth Violence: Risk and Protective Factors
A CDC web page that lists some of the known risk and protective factors for youth violence.