In September, 1996, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) through the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), awarded a grant to the Social Development Research Group (SDRG) at the University of Washington, to examine existing evaluations of positive youth development programs and to summarize the state of the field. The specific goals of the project were:
- to document and describe why a "shift in approach" has been called for which highlights characteristics of positive youth development;
- to document and describe the commonality between risk and protective factors linked to problem behaviors in youth;
- to research and establish both theoretical and empirical definitions of positive youth development and associated concepts;
- to identify evaluations of positive youth development interventions, and to examine and summarize what has been learned from these studies;
- to identify elements contributing to both the success and lack of success in positive youth development programs and evaluations;
- to examine ways to better evaluate existing and proposed models.