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 engages young people in their communities, schools and organizations, peer groups and families in a productive and constructive way. It uses and recognizes the strengths of young people and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities to foster positive relationships and providing the support needed to build on their strengths. (

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

A small part of the work plan requires CJDs to implement evidence-based risk reduction strategies regarding the prevention of teenage pregnancy. These evidence-based skill-building activities include communication, goal setting, decision-making, evaluation, and the benefits of refraining from risky behaviors.

Teen pregnancy prevention is not sex education. It does not give instructions on sexual activity. Preventing teen pregnancy helps create healthy behaviors, develop life skills, and promote positive youth development.

The AHYD program also recognizes that negative childhood experiences (ACE) affect the overall development of adolescents. ACES are potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood (CDC, 2019). Studies have shown that ACES are linked to chronic health problems, mental health, substance abuse, and reduced school and work performance. 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 help teens develop healthy, educated and employable lifestyles as adults and to keep teens connected to their families and communities.

Page last revised 07/2020

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