Historically, the primary focus of youth work has been on risk prevention and rehabilitation to keep young people off the streets, an approach known as a person-centered approach . The person-centered approach has led to service providers to regard young people as problems requiring a solution or intervention.
More recently, however, youth programs and initiatives have shifted their focus towards fostering positive youth development via empowerment strategies. The positive youth development approach views youth as active agents in changing their lives through active community participation.
This shift in youth work has been supported by the recognition that a person-centered approach is only one part of the equation and we must not ignore the intersecting systems of power, privilege, and oppression that influence the daily lives of young people. Continue reading “Critical youth work”