DYD is coordinating a growing, multi-level approach to youth development that builds support for young people where they live, learn, and play.

Youth Development Model

The Youth Development Networks (YDNs) are designed to provide free, comprehensive, and culturally responsive youth development programming and services to Los Angeles County youth by coordinating low-barrier and high-access networks of care. YDNs will offer a mechanism to increase available services for youth in prevention of and/or responsive reintegration from system involvement. We are currently finalizing the collaborative design of the first regional demonstration projects for a new Youth Development Network model in three geographic regions: South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and the Antelope Valley.

We are ready to deepen our community engagement and collaboration in each region, centering those with lived experiences. If you are interested in getting involved in your local regional network development, please to reach out to Youth Development Program Manager, Marianna Hernandez-Cadena ( 

Multi-Level Approach to Youth Development
The diagram below highlights examples of services, supports, and opportunities for youth development.

Core Competencies

The Youth Development model brings a positive, strengths-based approach to help youth develop competencies that enable them to grow and lead healthy, responsible and caring lives. These competencies help youth thrive and protect against system involvement.

Cognitive & Creative Competence

Knowledge and ability to appreciate and participate in areas of healing-centered, creative expression for all of the ways people experience their worlds, including access to quality education, critical thinking, critical pedagogy, analysis and problem solving; literacy, academic support and college preparation; self-expression and empowerment through art; ability to examine and address systemic oppression and root causes of inequity and awareness of power, privilege, prejudice and social justice.

Vocational Competence

Understanding and skills of life planning and a diverse range of career choices, work options, work-life balance, life planning and steps to act on those choices, including exploration of interests and gifts; job preparation, education and training; seeking mentorship and support navigating career pathways; employment and career exploration; and goal-setting and financial literacy. Access to support and services needed to engage in apprenticeships, employment, and career training.

Social Competence

Skills for understanding and appreciation of self, one’s own culture, language, history and contributions as well as appreciation for others, including self-discipline and decision-making; ability to work and communicate with others; develop financial literacy; technological access and skills; parental skills; empathy for others and the ability to solve problems without domination, retribution or violence.

Environmental Competence

Skills for understanding and appreciating environmental health, justice and sustainability; also includes built environment, environmental racism and access to housing and resources oriented toward personal wellbeing and the policies, laws and regulations that impact one’s healthy development; access to and knowledge about green jobs, urban farming and sustainable agricultural, housing and urban development.

Leadership Competence

Understanding of personal values, moral and ethical decision-making and participation in efforts contributing to the greater good, including the right to speak out, organize and to both serve and change one’s school and community and society, including leadership pipelines, advisory groups, County commissions and board memberships.

Health Competence

Good current health status as well as knowledge, attitude and behaviors that ensure future health, including access to trauma-informed physical, emotional and mental health services and healing, substance use services, and nutrition, sports and recreation services.
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