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All Children and Youth Thrive!


Relationships Matter to Halton professionals 

At the Our Kids Network Relationship Forum on February 25th, Halton professionals heard from Dr. Debra Pepler, Scientific Co-Director of PREVNet, that building strong and meaningful relationships is the most important thing we can do to promote positive child and youth development.

Halton professionals who attended the event were asked which ideas and statements resonated most with them. The top 6 are below:

  • All children and youth want is to belong.
  • We develop in relationships and without them we just don’t develop.
  • Children see. Children do.
  • Adults are responsible for healthy relationships.
  • 10 positive statements for every 1 negative
  • One caring adult is all that it takes.

Developmental Relationships Framework

Search Institute® has released its newest research-to-practice initiative which focuses on studying and strengthening the relationships that help young people succeed.  Strong relationships are the foundation for building Developmental Assets® and Family Assets.

Search Institute’s Developmental Relationships Framework

Five dimensions that really matter:
Express CARE

Meaningful relationships make a difference for youth

Strong, supportive relationships are the foundation of positive youth development. Research consistently shows a statistical relationship between relationships and health and well-being. This infographic from PREVNet summarizes some of those findings. Results from our 2012/13 Halton Youth Survey (HYS)* echo these findings:

  • Youth with high levels of family support are six times more likely to have high positive mental health compared to youth with low levels of family support
  • Youth who are connected to their peers are two times less likely to have been bullied since the beginning of the school year compared to youth with low levels of peer connectedness
  • Youth who report living in a caring neighbourhood are twice as likely to report a healthy diet by eating 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day
  • Youth reporting high levels of positive family communication are less likely to report binge drinking or smoking marijuana

 *The 2012/13 HYS was completed by students in October/November 2012. All eligible schools in Halton participated in the 2012/13 HYS. The survey results include a total of 121 schools (96 schools with Grade 7 students and 25 schools with Grade 10 students), representing 10,379 students from the Halton Catholic District School Board and the Halton District School Board, which represents a response rate of 83%.

Many success stories in Halton

At the Relationship Forum professionals told us that they’re working hard in Halton to develop meaningful relationships for children and youth.  Here are some examples:

  • Peer to peer programs (tutoring, mediation, leadership, asset building, best buddy)
  • Staff to staff mentoring
  • Restorative practice
  • Skill building (for educators, parents and students)
  • Youth voice
  • Recess programs (PALS, playground leaders)
  • Professionals intentionally role modelling positive relationship skills
  • Using technology to build relationships

Halton professionals identified “Next Steps” for Developmental Relationships

At the Relationship Forum, we identified next steps. The Asset-Building Table and the Bullying Prevention Task Force will work together to build a plan using the following areas of work as a foundation:

  • Education/Awareness Raising
  • Skill-Building
  • Supports
  • Partnerships/Stakeholders
  • Supportive Environments
  • Programs/Best Practices

Everyone in the community benefits from focusing on strong relationships. More ideas and resources related to Developmental Relationships are available on our website.


Co-written with Mary Tabak, OKN Developmental Assets Project Manager