New Day Youth Research Paper

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New Day Youth and Family Services has been working to improve the lives of at-risk youth in New Mexico for over 40 years. New Day provides a life-building skills academy, a safe home, and other ventures to help young people successfully pursue positive life trajectories. In the last few years, New Day has committed to building positive relationships with young people and adults by adopting the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA). NHA is a well-regarded strengths-based parenting strategy that focuses attention on positive behaviors and limits attention to negative behaviors. New Day has adopted NHA with the hope that a radical shift in the kind of attention that youth receive -- “a rewriting of the negative script” they are accustomed to hearing…show more content…
Because of the limited time youth have at the safe house, New Day leadership had the idea of providing written feedback on index cards, as a way of reinforcing the positive messages they wanted to convey. Youth focus group participants shared that New Day has helped them improve their “emotional intelligence” and “self-advocacy,” suggesting that the use of NHA offers youth an opportunity to see themselves in a new, positive…show more content…
Staff members were enthusiastic about NHA, and could point to specific experiences that demonstrated NHA’s effectiveness with youth at the safe home. Several attested to NHA’s effectiveness in their personal lives as well. The leadership team focus group participants were also enthusiastic about NHA, and reported that the approach promoted positive interactions between staff and youth and between staff and supervisors. Leadership team participants also reported that NHA promoted more effective interactions with partnering agencies, including the state Children, Youth and Families Department, which in turn led to better outcomes for youth. And, equally gratifying, the leadership repeatedly observe youth using NHA with each other. The team concluded that New Day has successfully integrated NHA into its culture, and that the practice is sustainable so long as it continues to be supported. Focus group participants had two suggestions for improving the implementation of NHA. First, both youth and staff thought there needed to be more consistency in what behavior and activities are and are not acceptable, and that NHA “absolute no” should be consistent across shifts. Second, staff and leadership recommended more formal training, especially to support the use of NHA in crisis

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