Maximizing the Potential for Healthy Youth Development

28 October 2015

The Department for Children and Families (DCF), in partnership with the Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs, is sponsoring trainings across the state for professionals who work with young people. Youth Thrive™ is a science-based training that combines the latest research on adolescent brain development, trauma, resilience, and the importance of social connections into one framework to promote young people’s well-being and healthy development.

The trainings offer tools that can help professionals:

  • Keep youth from becoming involved with the juvenile justice system;
  • Improve services for those who are already involved;
  • Recognize where young people are in their development; and
  • Support their growth in positive ways.

“We know there are many Vermont youth involved with, and at risk of becoming involved with, the juvenile justice system because of childhood trauma, poverty, and related issues,” said DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz. “This training will help professionals focus on protective factors that can promote healthy development and a successful transition to adulthood while reducing the impact of negative life experiences.” 

“The Agency of Human Services is moving toward embedding protective factors into all our programs and services,” said AHS Secretary Hal Cohen. “This approach will allow us to help families be the best they can be while keeping children safe and helping them to thrive.”

To date, six trainings have taken place and 50 professionals, including private non-profit youth workers, law enforcement personnel, state child welfare workers, teachers, and school counselors, have been trained. Three additional half-day events are being scheduled: one in St. Albans and the other two in locations yet to be determined.

“The Council is excited to bring this invaluable training to Vermont’s youth workforce,” said Council Chair Kreig Pinkham.  “We look forward to seeing them take what they’ve learned into their own communities, put their learning into practice, and improve outcomes for young people.”

The trainings are being delivered by Youth Catalytics —a Vermont-based non-profit training and research organization —with funding from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. As part of the project, Youth Catalytics will also coach local teams as they integrate what they’ve learned into daily practice.  For more information and to find an upcoming event, visit

# # #

Youth Thrive™ was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a national non-profit that works with policymakers and communities across the country to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families.

The Vermont Department for Children and Families delivers a wide array of programs and services to Vermonters in areas such as child care, child development, child protection, child support, disability determination, and economic benefits that help meet basic needs.