Promoting Healthy Families and Communities for Boys and Young Men of Color

by Heather Sandstrom; Lisa Dubay; Nan Marie Astone; Susan J. Popkin

Feb 4, 2015

Boys and young men of color are at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes from birth through young adulthood. Many risks flow from a lack of economic resources and residence in segregated neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage. This paper outlines these developmental challenges and identifies societal, institutional, and community changes that would increase resources, eliminate or reduce stress and trauma, and provide support for boys and families.
  • Structural and institutional reforms are crucial, most importantly policies to buttress household economic stability through the expansion of job opportunities.
  • Other systemic reforms include expanding housing, child care, health care subsidies, and facilitating the involvement of noncustodial parents in all aspects of their children's lives, including their financial support.
  • Focus must also be made on reducing the sources of chronic stress and trauma in the neighborhoods of boys and young men of color, investing in high-poverty neighborhoods to improve community resources, removing environmental hazards, and improving access to "opportunity neighborhoods."
  • Family and individual interventions should target the entire life course, beginning before birth.
  • Dual-generation strategies are needed to strengthen the caregiving capacities of parents, including noncustodial parents.