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BE SAFE model

BE SAFE understands and values the fact that youth-serving organizations are in the relationship business. No matter the program specifics, all youth-serving organizations provide a critical resource to young people: healthy, caring relationships. These relationships take many forms:

  • Youth are forming new friendships, dating relationships, and peer leadership with one another
  • Youth are forming relationships with staff who are their mentors, educators, supervisors, and supporters
  • Staff relationships with one another and with their supervisors are important in order for everyone to feel connected and supported in the work that they do with youth. These relationships can also model appropriate behaviors to youth.
  • The relationship between the program and the community served, including parents, neighbors, and partner organizations is also important to the success of the youth and the program.

Policies Model


The BE SAFE model of policy development is structured around the strength and potential of these relationships: youth to youth, youth to staff, staff to staff, and program to community.

If a young person shows up high to your program, the BE SAFE policy analysis asks if your policies are about:

  • addressing the impact this has on the relationship between the youth in the program
  • how staff talk with youth around substance use issues on a day to day basis and in response to incidents
  • what behaviors staff are modeling in their interactions with each other about substance use
  • how the program informs parents and the community about its substance use and prevention policies.

Our approach is to provide guidance on how to strengthen, support, and provide accountability for the relationships that form at youth-serving organizations through policy development.

Another important component of the BE SAFE approach is to include policies that address incident response and prevention. After all, an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.