Youth Thrive

Youth Thrive is a framework designed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) to help young people reach their full potential. Since 2015, the Department of Probation has been working with CSSP [the Center for the Study of Social Policy] to infuse Youth Thrive into our Juvenile Operations work.

How does it work?

Youth Thrive is based on emerging research in neuroscience and brain development as well as established research on the promotion of positive youth development. The Youth Thrive framework allows us to take what might appear to be “failure” and reframe it as “experience”, transforming it into an opportunity to learn and grow. When clients make a worthy effort or achieve success, no matter how small, Youth Thrive encourages us to recognize that and build upon it. By supporting healthy development and well-being, we can create positive outcomes for our clients and their families, as demonstrated by this letter from a client’s mother:

“I do not have words to thank you for the support and advice the department of probation has given my son, and above, all I have no words to express how grateful I am to Officer Finch because my son regained confidence in himself, and he is convinced that he has a good future waiting for him.”

-Mother of a young adult on probation

The five factors

Youth Thrive emphasizes five principles to promote healthy development and well-being in young people.

  1. Youth resilience: Building confidence, coping with challenges, learning from mistakes and other skills.
  2. Social connections: Having a trusting relationship with at least one caring and competent adult.
  3. Knowledge of adolescent development: Not just on the part of parents and those working with young people, but for the youth themselves.
  4. Concrete support in times of need: Learning how to obtain basic necessities as well as legal, medical, or educational help when needed.
  5. Cognitive and social emotional competence: Taking control of thoughts and feelings, considering consequences, and finding positive solutions.

Training the DOP community

Our probation officers have been trained in the Youth Thrive framework. To achieve our agency mission, we will continue to train everyone tasked with shaping the lives of our young people, including all officers, managers and executives. We will also share the Youth Thrive framework with parents, caregivers, family members and other stakeholders, so we can all help our clients grow into successful, productive, and caring members of society.

It’s time to thrive

As Maya Angelou once said, “My mission in life is not to merely survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, compassion, some humor and style.” At the New York City Department of Probation, we believe in the Youth Thrive framework and our ability to help the young people of our city thrive.