Adolescent Health and Youth Development

DPH’s Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program is based on the Positive Youth Development Approach. It is an intentional approach that engaged youth with in their communities, schools and organizations, peer groups and families in an productive and constructive manner.  It utilizes and recognizes young people’s strengths and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities fostering positive relationship and furnishing the support needed to build on their strengths.  (youth.gov)

The AHYD program is administered by Youth Development Coordinators (YDC) at the local level.  The YDCs coordinate efforts between district and county health departments.  Youth Development Coordinators form critical partnerships with afterschool programs and county and community agencies, holding workshops with parents, faith-based institutions, and public health leaders to foster collaboration around key adolescent health and youth development issues.

A small portion of the work plan requires YDCs to implement evidenced-based risk reduction strategies addressing teen pregnancy prevention.  These evidenced-based skill building activities include communication, goal setting, decision making, assessing and the benefits of abstaining risky behavior.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention is not Sex Education. It does not give instructions on sexual activity.  Teen Pregnancy Prevention fosters building healthy behaviors, developing life skills and promoting positive youth development.

The AHYD Program also recognizes that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) affect the overall development of adolescents. ACES are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (CDC, 2019). Studies have shown that ACES are linked to chronic health problems, mental health, substance misuse, and reduced educational and occupational achievement. Preventing ACEs has the potential to reduce leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, and suicide.

The AHYD program aims to support adolescents to develop healthy, educated, and employable lifestyles as adults and keep adolescents connected to their families and communities.

 

Page last reviewed 07/2020