New ACYF Report Shines Light on Factors that Support Youth

It’s no secret that trauma impacts people differently. Some people cope with and overcome the stressful events in their lives, while others suffer physical and emotional consequences that can last a lifetime.

A new report issued by the Administration on Children, Youth & Families, or ACYF, explores the factors that make children and young people more able to cope with the trauma they face. Promoting Protective Factors for In-Risk Families and Youth: A Brief for Researchers (PDF, 496k) focuses on five populations that are often victimized the most:

  • Infants, children, and adolescents who are victims of child abuse and neglect
  • Runaway and homeless youth
  • Youth in or transitioning out of foster care
  • Children and youth exposed to domestic violence
  • Pregnant and parenting teens

After an extensive review of existing research, ACYF found that children and young people have a greater chance of overcoming negative events in their lives if they have, for example, a sense of purpose and optimism, caregivers with strong parenting skills, and supportive teachers and school staff.

“Though it is clear that more research needs to be done to understand how protective factors interact with each other to help young people overcome traumatic events, this report can help family and youth programs around the country focus in on what we believe really helps youth,” says Bill Bentley, Associate Commissioner for the Family and Youth Services Bureau, which is part of ACYF.