Our Collaborative


Youth in Focus is a collaborative of youth development experts who provide powerful, practical, brain-based training to professionals who work with youth and their families. While all young people require nurturing relationships, vulnerable or at-risk young people need them most. That's why Youth in Focus aims its efforts at the people whose skills are truly make-or-break for young people: teachers, counselors, police officers, court personnel, foster parents, and community-based youth workers of all kinds. 

The organizations below make up Youth in Focus. Each one is home to expert trainers and consultants who teach the core Thrive™ curricula. Each also specializes in particular issues and populations. Finally, Youth in Focus collaborative members are located around the country, meaning that the very expert you're looking for is always somewhere nearby. 

Academy for Competent Youthwork
college station, Texas


Academy for Competent Youth Work was founded in 2001 to promote the improvement of services for children and youth by developing and providing community training and education services that promote quality child and youth care practices; and researching professional practices of child and youth care practitioners. In order to accomplish its mission, the Academy disseminates curricula, instructors and training materials; promotes training for ongoing vocational and professional development; provides technical assistance; and conducts research to determine training impact and outcomes. Located in Texas, the Academy has become one of the most innovative certification programs for child and youth care workers in the United States. To date, over 600 practitioners have become certified. Certification is rapidly becoming a viable tool for assessing practitioner competence and establishing a life-long career path.

Specialty areas: Youth development, trauma and resilience

Typical audiences: Youth care workers; program and organizational leaders; educators; clinicians

standish, MAINE


Bolster Collaborative was founded in 2013 as an extension of our parent organization, Vision Training Associates, Inc. (founded in 2000). Our goal is to provide the current, practical resources to those who serve the positive development of young people. We have provided training and support in positive youth development principles to organizations and communities across the United States as well as audiences in Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, South Korea, and Qatar. In addition to in-person events, the Collaborative offers a suite of online resources for supporting asset-building champions, including bi-weekly Inspirations and Action Ideas. Bolster Collaborative is a partner in the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments and cosponsor of an annual positive youth development conference with national reach.

Specialty areas: Positive youth development; bullying prevention; positive school climate; organizational and community change; building positive youth-adult relationships; culturally competent approaches; trauma-sensitive practice

Typical audiences: Educators, youth-serving organizations, parents, community coalitions and initiatives

Healthcare education and training
Indianapolis, Indiana


HCET was founded in 1993 in the belief that all people, including adolescents, should have access to high-quality reproductive health care and health education, regardless of income or geography.  These services and programs should be provided by clinicians, educators, and other professionals who get the best training and support available, tailored to their agency and community. HCET fills that gap. HCET’s work is focused in the states that surround the Great Lakes (Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio) and has expanded as we continually find new partners in this work, advance the integration of reproductive/sexual health into new sectors, and focus on finding “what works” through impactful program evaluation and moving data to action. 

Specialty areas: Reproductive and sexual health; adolescent health; public health;  women’s health; rural-urban health disparities; foster care and juvenile justice populations; LGBTQ health;

Typical audiences: Nurses and other health care professionals; youth workers; teachers; child welfare and juvenile justice workers; foster parents; local and state government, including court personnel; public health workers; social workers

louisville, kentucky


National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. As a membership organization, NSPN offers an array of services tailored to meet agency needs in the most cost-efficient manner. These services include individual site visits, conferences, online training curricula, grant reviews, and more. NSPN is committed to agency growth and development, education, professional training and youth advocacy work. Along with providing training and technical assistance as a membership association, NSPN also operates nationally recognized programs including Safe Place, HTR3, and the Family and Youth Services Bureau's Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC).

Specialty areas: Trauma-informed care, positive youth development, sustainability, human trafficking, nonprofit management, strategic planning, executive consultations, board development, community collaborations, youth safety and connection to resources 

Typical audiences: Youth and families; youth care workers; program and organizational leaders; educators; clinicians; general public

PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families


Since 1967, PHILLIPS has provided a place where youth left behind in traditional settings can get the education and supportive services they need to become successful and responsible adults. Our youth and their families have been impacted by a variety of personal and neurological circumstances, so we tailor our approach to address their unique situation. We provide special education at our non-public nonprofit day schools in Virginia and Maryland. Phillips also operates Career Partners, which prepares students and young adults for careers,  and Family Partners, a nationally recognized program serving families and children with developmental, emotional and behavioral health needs through home- and community-based counseling, education, family support, advocacy and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) services.

Speciality areas:  Addressing the educational and complex behavioral needs of children and youth; special education curriculum enhancement;  strengthening families; home-based counseling services; parent and local educational agency training on the Right Response model and deescalation methods and strategies

Typical audiences:  Special education professionals; local educational agencies and their professional staff including bus drivers; care workers; care givers and parents


youth catalytics
burlington, Vermont

Youth Catalytics supports and advances child and youth services in communities across the United States. Through professional development and research, we strengthen social services, promote best practices and respond to emerging issues that directly impact the lives of young people and their families.  Founded in 1981, Youth Catalytics works with multi-service agencies, schools, communities, state systems, universities and foundations. Our interest and expertise extends to at-risk and high-risk youth; homeless teens and young adults; pregnant and parenting teens; children and teens in out-of-home care; sexual minority youth; and children and youth marginalized by poverty.

Specialty areas: Youth homelessness; youth development; secular-faith collaboration; communication and dissemination; evaluation; fund development and sustainability

Typical audiences: Community-based youth workers; school staff; child welfare and juvenile justice workers; nonprofits of all sizes planning or implementing organizational change