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Finding the Fluoride
Leaders in education and youth development expend considerable effort identifying and testing programs and strategies to improve outcomes for young people from marginalized communities.
Yet too few efforts yield measurable progress. Li and Julian (2012) argued that an underappreciated factor in the success and failure of interventions is the degree to which they promote "developmental relationships."
This article describes a multi-year, multi-method effort by Search Institute to operationalize and test that hypothesis that has involved operationalizing a framework of developmental relationships, examining how those relationships are built in diverse contexts and their association with positive attitudes, skills, and behaviors among young people, particularly those from marginalized communities.
It concludes by describing the next
phase of this initiative, which involves using an improvement science approach to co-create
strategies for strengthening developmental relationships in partnership with youth-serving
organizations in multiple sectors.