Skip to main content

Oregon State Flag An official website of the State of Oregon »

Mission, History, Approach

Mission, Vision, and Values


Youth Development Oregon aligns systems and invests in communities to ensure equitable and effective services for youth ages 6 through 24. Throughout Oregon and Tribal Nations, we support educational and career success, disrupt youth crime and violence, and affirm youth strengths and safety. 


All Oregon’s youth have the opportunity to thrive and achieve their full potential.


Equitable access
Equal opportunity
Youth-centered approaches and results


The Oregon Youth Development Council (YDC) was established in 2012 established to coordinate a unified and aligned system that provides services to youth ages 6 through 24, in a manner that supports educational success, focuses on crime prevention, reduces high risk behaviors and is integrated, measurable, and accountable.

The YDC was created through a series of gubernatorial policy directions and legislative bills, as a part of state education reform and restructuring. These efforts began in 2011 with the dismantling of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families and the creation of the Oregon Educational Investment Board. Keys steps and decisions included:
  • House Bill 4165 of the 2012 Legislative Session established the Youth Development Council
  • House Bill 3231​ of the 2013 Legislative Session established the Youth Development Division (YDD) within the Oregon Department of Education, under the direction of the YDC.
Establishing the YDD Director as a member of the Governor’s Education Cabinet to collaborate with other educational agencies and youth service providers on state policy and supporting a unified system of service for youth.
In 2014, the YDC and YDD established a community investment strategy and launched the inaugural Community Investment grants. In 2015, Senate Bill 586 expanded the YDD’s age range to serve youth up to age 24 to align with the national effort to address disconnection among Opportunity Youth – 16 to 24 year-olds who are not in school or working.

In 2019, the Legislature passed HB 3427​, the Student Success Act, which called for a significant investment in new equitable education initiatives, including the establishment of a statewide youth reengagement system. Reengagement system’s focus is on youth who encounter adversity and barriers to educational success, career pathways, and personal wellbeing. YDC/YDD are working to address and remove these barriers through policy and grant making to advance more equitable outcomes for all youth.

YDC/YDD coordinates an aligned system of service for resilient yet vulnerable youth. YDC/YDD administers both state general funding and federal funds through strategic investments in a variety of community-based youth development programs and services designed to serve these youth populations effectively. YDD grant-making supports:

  • ​Evidenced-based, emerging, traditional and Tribal practices
  • Culturally, linguistically, gender, and age-appropriate services
  • Understanding and meeting identified community needs and issues
  • Build upon assets and protective factors that increase the health and well-being of youth
  • Addressing individual risk factors
Grantees regularly submit reporting and data on the activities and outcomes of funded programs, providing the YDD with a means of determining the impact and effectiveness of grants.
The Oregon Youth Development Council (YDC) has been established for the purpose of helping to coordinate a unified and aligned system that provides services to youth ages 6 through 24, in a manner that supports educational success, focuses on crime prevention, reduces high risk behaviors and is integrated, measurable, and accountable.​

Our Approach

Focus on youth from vulnerable and resilient populations and communities:

  • Identify and remove system barriers and gaps
  • Build assets, protective factors and strength-based practices for youth
  • Engage, reengage, and advance youth learners
  • Prevent and disrupt crime and violence and promote youth safety
  • ​Reduce disparities and achieve equitable outcomes
YDC/YDD advocates for school-age youth and young adults who are encountering barriers to school and career success, with efforts tailored to serve two focus youth populations:

YDC/YDD’s approach is to develop statewide policy and fund community-based programs, services, and initiatives for vulnerable and resilient youth that reduce barriers to education and employment success, expand access to positive activities, and build crucial social, emotional and mental health skills and competencies.

YDC/YDD grants support programs that provide proven services to youth ages 6 through 24 through a variety of approaches, including in-school, after-school, and summer programs, mentoring, tutoring, STEM and hands-on learning, workforce training, family supports, and barrier removal. Programs are responsive to community needs and cultural practices, and offer innovative, effective, and personalized services for Priority and Opportunity Youth across Oregon.

Research indicates that intervening to keep young people engaged – and reengaging those who are disconnected or pushed out of school – not only improves future outcomes for these individuals, but offers a significant return on investment to communities, by reducing the risk of justice system involvement, lowering social service costs, and increasing economic productivity and income tax revenue. YDC/YDD’s strategic investments in Priority and Opportunity Youth create opportunities and outcomes that have a positive long-term impact on communities.

​YDC/YDD’s approach also focuses on developing policy, capacity building and inter-agency coordination related to services and resources needed to achieve outcomes related to youth development, educational success, and career readiness.

YDD community investments support community-based youth development efforts, prioritizing grants based on indicators of community need, proven practices, and innovative approaches to serving youth. YDD grants support efforts to reduce disparities in educational success, improve graduation and completion rates, reduce youth disconnection, increase attendance and readiness, and remove barriers engagement, achievement, and success. Program results are evaluated to guide future funding priorities, identifying opportunities to improve policy, amplify successful strategies, and encourage multi-sector collaboration to improve outcomes for youth.

YDD Juvenile Crime Prevention Grants support a variety of diversion and prevention programs designed to keep young people from entering the juvenile justice system or engaging in high-risk behavior, through a variety of pro-social activities and programs.

YDD Youth Reengagement Grants support collaborative, community-based efforts to provide holistic educational reengagement programming to 14 to 21 year-olds who left school prior to graduation, and other youth who are facing barriers to high school completion, and would benefit from a more supportive path to a diploma or GED. Reengagement programs provide youth with responsive educational services, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, connection to workforce training and career learning, and access to support services in order to remove barriers to educational success.

Focus on Equity, Anti-Racism and Justice

​YDC/YDD apply an equity lens to policy and grant making. We seek to identify and eliminate barriers and disparities related to race, ethnicity, native language, poverty, disability, foster care status, homelessness, LGBTQ identity, juvenile justice system involvement, and/or geographic location. In funding, programs, and inclusion, equity is essential to the Council’s decision-making process. All programs must demonstrate equity-focused and responsive approaches to ensure relevancy across the spectrum of diverse youth we serve.​