The Youth Development Institute

The Youth Development Institute (YDI) is the only entity in Puerto Rico exclusively dedicated to promoting research and people-driven public policies that strengthen the economic security of families with children and youth, with the ultimate goal of drastically reducing child poverty on the island. Our goal is that all children in Puerto Rico have the opportunities that allow them escape poverty and live in homes with economic security.

We focus on three policy areas:
Strengthening the economic security of families with children and youth; this is the main focus of our work
Ensuring adequate and effective investments in children and youth
Promoting that the needs of children and youth are a priority in the hurricane Maria recovery process

Our main objective is focused on reducing child poverty over the next 10 years. We pursue change using various mechanisms: empowering those affected to engage in the policy process; creating collective impact so that it is not just us working towards such a big goal; promoting the use of data amongst policy makers; and activating traditional advocacy work and grassroots mobilization where we educate about the problem and its solutions.


Ensure that children in Puerto Rico have the opportunities that allow them to get out of poverty.


To transform the conditions that affect children, youth and their families, so that all children of Puerto Rico live in homes with economic security.


At the Youth Development Institute we guide our work based on the following organizational values:

A. Results-Driven

Our work is driven by the results we want to see, at all levels: in metrics, changes in policy, and improvements in child and youth outcomes. We implement tactics focused on the meaningful impact they will have for children, youth and their families. We focus on our goals with the vision set on the ultimate outcome.

B. Strategic

We assess our environment, timeline, needs and the resources available to design an integrated plan -in conjunction with a network of stakeholders and partners- seeking to obtain the expected results for children, youth and families of Puerto Rico.

C. Child-Focused

We recognize that the positive development of a child is influenced by the economic and labor conditions of parents. Everything we do is based on improving the living conditions of children and youth so that, in the long term -as adults- they become independent and self-sufficient. Thus, responsible and conscious adults develop, bringing about a generational cycle of people who have fully developed their abilities.

K. Creative

We can identify areas of opportunity and new mechanics by evaluating what has not previously worked. Being innovative and bold is key in our strategy.

D. Exceed Expectations

We go above and beyond our expectations: in the development of our data products, policy briefs and advocacy efforts. Not only do we execute on what is required of us, but when opportunity, resources or time arises, we exceed expectations. We set our standards high and exceed them.

F. People-Driven

We believe that those affected by public policies should participate in the process. Integrating experiences and opinions from the perspective of the people affected, gives us another point of view on the needs of those who live these circumstances. The decisions we make are formed taking into account the people we serve.

G. Data-Driven

We use the data to form our decisions; data is part of our day-to-day process. Data gives us a broad picture of the situations people are going through, and are also reinforced by the voices of those involved. Data supports our decisions and shapes them.

H. Respect

The people we serve are of great value to us; what they feel is important, what they want matters to us and our work reflects this principle. We respect the opinions and ideologies of others in a responsible manner. Our goal is to reach agreements to improve the living conditions of children and youth by not losing sight of the character and human condition of those who will benefit from our work.

I. Relentless

We don’t stop. In the political arena, it is necessary to insist and persist to change the conditions in which families with children live under. We are relentless in our pursuit for systemic changes. We don't give up easily.

J. Team Work

We are a team that complement each other to achieve a greater impact on our work. We recognize that all parts of the team are equally important to advance the childhood agenda. The team is assembled for each project, initiative or program, and works together professionally.