Working with Youth to Enhance their Natural Supports: Practice Framework

The Change Collective

From the Executive Summary of this unique and powerful resource, structured as a workbook to effectively guide changes in practice:  

  • Natural supports are relationships and associations that are developed in the course of daily living. They are ‘natural’ in the sense that they are informally and locally developed, and are based on reciprocity or give and take. Natural supports include family, friends, romantic partners, neighbours, coaches, team-mates, and others who comprise our social network.
  • While a growing body of research clearly demonstrates the connection between positive natural supports and healthy youth development, the practice of helping youth to identify, strengthen and extend their social networks lags far behind.
  • The Change Collective was initiated to address this gap. Representatives from 13 youth- and family-serving agencies in Calgary worked together for two years to identify and test a set of principles and practices to guide this work. Our collective learning has been synthesized in the Practice Framework.

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