The Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development is a dynamic, evolving partnership of state and local entities concerned about youth and youth policies. To learn more about the Collaboration, see:
- Background & Purpose ·
- Definition & Philosophy ·
- Related State Level Youth Initiatives ·
- Activities Promoting Youth Involvement ·
Participating Agencies and Organizations
A listing of current participations and links to their web pages.
Iowa Youth Development Results Framework
More Information about the framework that identifies five, broad outcomes the Collaboration has identified as critical to youth development. These outcomes reflect the Collaboration’s vision for Iowa youth.
Background & Purpose
|The Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development is an interagency initiative designed to better align state policies and programs and to encourage collaboration among multiple state and community agencies on youth-related issues. The goals of the initiative are to promote the use of positive youth development principles in state policies and programs and to facilitate the use of effective youth development practices in communities throughout Iowa.
Iowa is one of nine states that were awarded five-year, discretionary grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family and Youth Services Bureau in 1998 to support state-level collaboration and community capacity-building activities. The lead agency in Iowa is the Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning of the Iowa Department of Human Rights. More than a dozen state agencies, representatives from several communities and statewide youth organizations, local agencies, and research institutions, are part of the Collaboration.
Since January 1999, representatives from state and local agencies and private organizations have been meeting to discuss youth development issues, to build consensus on a youth development framework, and to promote youth development principles and practices. This group, the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development, has pursued three broad objectives: Better coordinate and align state policies and programs related to youth using a positive youth development framework; Identify or develop resources for use at the community level to promote youth development and to facilitate planning and implementation of effective youth development programs, and increase youth involvement in state and local level policy discussions and decision-making. During this time, Iowa was also selected as one of ten states to participate in the National Governors’ Association Youth Policy Network. This opportunity brought youth development issues and collaboration activities to the attention of the Governor’s Office and State Agency heads
Definition & Philosophy
|Youth Development is defined by the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development as the ongoing growth process in which all youth strive to (1) meet the basic personal and social needs to feel cared for and to be safe, valued, useful, and spiritually grounded and (2) build character, skills, and competencies that permit functioning and contribution in daily life. Youth development approaches focus and builds on the strengths and assets of young people, rather than concentrating solely on the prevention or treatment of problems.
To become healthy and productive adults, youth must develop the attitudes, behaviors, competencies, and skills that allow them to succeed as parents, citizens, and workers. Youth who do not have opportunities to develop these attributes and test them in a supportive environment is at risk of a variety of negative behaviors and poor outcomes.
From a public policy perspective, a youth development approach shifts the focus away from youth problems and categorical youth programs, to a more holistic, positive approach to supporting and engaging all youth in healthy and positive development. A youth development public policy approach, while not ignoring youth problems, is based on the principle that many youth problems are interrelated and can best be addressed through comprehensive and proactive strategies that engage youth in positive ways.
Increasingly, youth development is being viewed as the responsibility of entire communities, not just traditional youth organizations. Effective youth development strategies engage youth, their families, schools, the faith community, juvenile justice, child welfare, and other youth-serving institutions in building the competencies and connections that enable youth to become successful adults. Youth development strategies also focus on strengthening communities’ capacity to better support and engage young people.
Related State Level Youth Initiatives
|Iowa Youth SurveySeveral state agencies collaborated to support the Iowa Youth Survey, a triennial survey of Iowa youth in 6th, 8th and 11th grades. This comprehensive survey was administered by the Department of Public Health through a grant to the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation. More than 85,000 Iowa students completed the survey in October and November 1999. Statewide and county-level results are available on the internet. The survey results provide extensive data on the attitudes and behaviors of Iowa youth and are a valuable source of information for the state and communities. Other geographical breakdowns of the data available include Decategorization regions; Judicial Districts; Area Education Agencies; Department of Human Services; and Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention regions.
Youth Policy Network — National Governors’ Association
Iowa has been selected as one of ten states to participate in the Youth Policy Network, a new technical assistance program of the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices. The Youth Policy Network has financial support from the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The purpose of the Youth Policy Network is to help states improve outcomes for youth by supporting state-local partnerships and interagency efforts aimed at developing and implementing youth development strategies. The Network will assist states in building on current youth policies and will help states learn about and adopt best practices of youth development. Among the issues to be considered are: simplifying state requirements, coordinating state agencies, encouraging youth involvement, expanding access to federal funding, and blending resources for youth development in schools, health, and human service agencies, the justice system, and other community programs.
Embedding Prevention in State Policies
Iowa was recently selected as one of six states to participate in a new initiative of the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to examine and support state-level activities to embed prevention in state policies. This initiative is designed to promote a more preventative or youth development orientation to youth issues, with a particular focus on comprehensive, community-based crime reduction initiatives. The NCPC, through anticipated funding from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, will work with the six pilot states to help support and sustain these locally developed prevention efforts.
Activities Promoting Youth Involvement
|Youth Involvement CommitteeOne of the primary objectives of the Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development is to increase youth involvement in state and local level policy discussions and decision-making. The Youth Involvement Committee has been formed to help publicize existing opportunities for young people to develop leadership skills and to be involved at the state and community level; to implement new strategies to involve youth, and to identify and develop tools and resources that will build the capacity at the state and community level to effectively involve youth.
The Vision for Youth Involvement in Iowa adopted by the Committee is as follows: “Youth are welcomed and valued as partners in all aspects of community life and are actively engaged in efforts aimed at social and community change.” Successful youth involvement is contingent on both youth and adults understanding and accepting responsibility for building positive relationships, respecting and valuing the other, and contributing to the community as citizens. Organizational, community and state climates that are supportive of youth involvement include the following elements: Availability of training and tools for youth and adults to build effective partnership existence of statewide networks of engaged youth that enhance the capacity for young people to learn from each other opportunities for youth to work with adults to set overall policy direction for organizations, institutions, and coalitions Leadership Development Opportunities: A Guide for Iowa YouthThis Guide summarizes some of the many opportunities and experiences that are available for Iowa youth to enhance their leadership potential and to exercise their leadership abilities. Contact information for each program included in the Guide is provided.