Convergence of a strengths perspective and youth development: Toward youth promotion practice

  • Jeong Woong Cheon University of Kansas


In recent years, increased attention has been paid to the development and application of the strengths perspective and positive youth development. This paper develops youth promotion practice as a convergence of a strengths perspective and youth development principles. Historical and contemporary contexts of a problem-focused perspective in social work with adolescents are reviewed and a critique developed with emphasis on the evolution of strengths-focused practices. The importance and possibility of combining the strengths perspective and youth development toward youth promotion practice are addressed. Youth promotion is defined as a process of enhancing youth strengths and resources to promote positive outcomes and help young people be healthy adults. Complementary aspects of the two perspectives are expected to support and supplement the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective in synergistic ways. Several advantages of youth promotion practice are discussed as well as its implications for improved social work practices with adolescents.