Division of Youth Services:40 Developmental Assets

40 Developmental Assets

Dept. of Community & Family Services (DCFS)
Sabrina Jaar Marzouka, JD, MPH, Commissioner



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The Dutchess County Division of Youth Services is a strong advocate for children and families in our County. We promote the 40 Developmental Assets as an essential part of strengthening families and supporting them in their role of nurturing their children.   In today’s society, families often face conflicting messages about parenting skills and priorities in order to develop a healthy environment for their children.  The 40 Developmental Assets provide asset-building ideas for parents to promote family structure and values, a sense of belonging, encourage social competencies and connect their children and teens to other positive adult role models.

When we look at the importance of asset building activities and relationships, we recognize parental involvement is one of  the major protective factors for the success and well-being of children.  Parents spend an immense amount of time reinforcing positive behaviors and focusing on the quality of life for their children.  The 40 Developmental Assets framework offers clear and dependable building blocks for youth to grow into healthy, positive, and responsible young adults.  These assets are utilized in our everyday lives and can be supported by many adults in our community. The Assets concepts empower parents to develop diverse positive approaches towards shaping their family structure and building on their strengths.

40 Developmental Assets

External Assets show Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, and Constructive Use of Time:


  1. Family Support – Family life provides high levels of love & support.

  2. Positive Family Communication – Young person & his or her parent(s) communicate positively, & young person is willing to seek advice & counsel from parent(s).

  3. Other Adult Relationships - Young person receives support from three or more non parent adults.

  4. Caring Neighborhood - Young person experiences caring neighbors.

  5. Caring School Climate - School provides a caring, encouraging environment.

  6. Parent Involvement in Schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.



  1. Community Values Youth - Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.

  2. Youth as Resources

    -Young people are given useful roles in the community.

  3. Service to Others - Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.

  4. Safety - Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.


Boundaries and Expectations

  1. Family Boundaries - Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.

  2. School Boundaries - School provides clear rules and consequences.

  3. Neighborhood Boundaries - Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.

  4. Adult Role Models - Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.

  5. Positive Peer Influence -Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.

  6. High Expectations - Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well. 


Constructive Use of Time

  1. Creative Activities -Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.

  2. Youth Programs - Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school and/or in the community.

  3. Religious Community - Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.

  4. Time at Home - Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer  nights per week.


Internal Assets show Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Special Competencies, and Positive Identity: 

Commitment to Learning

  1. Achievement Motivation -Young person is motivated to do well in school.

  2. School Engagement  -Young person is actively engaged in learning.

  3. Homework - Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.

  4. Bonding to School - Young person cares about her or his school.

  5. Reading for Pleasure - Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

  6. Caring - Young person places high value on helping other people.


Positive Values

  1. Equality and Social Justice - Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.

  2. Integrity - Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.

  3. Honesty - Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.”

  4. Responsibility - Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.

  5. Restraint - Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol  or other drugs.


Social Competencies

  1. Planning and Decision Making - Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.

  2. Interpersonal Competence - Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.

  3. Cultural Competence - Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.

  4. Resistance Skills - Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.

  5. Peaceful Conflict Resolution - Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.


Positive Identity

  1. Personal Power - Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”

  2. Self-Esteem - Young person reports having a high self-esteem.

  3. Sense of Purpose - Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.”

  4. Positive View of Personal Future - Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.

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