Investing In Our Youth Inc grew from a community seminar in 1999 that led to the formation of an ‘Investing in Bunbury’s Youth’ steering committee.

The founding members aligned with a model of prevention and community mobilisation called ‘Communities That Care’. Communities That Care (CTC) was developed in the USA by Professor J. David Hawkins and Professor Richard F. Catalano, at the University of Washington, Seattle. The model identifies and addresses priority areas to promote healthy development before young people become involved in problem behaviours.

There are two main theoretical strands that underpin this approach. Both are greatly influenced by writers in the discipline of social psychology. First, it is claimed that certain risk factors can be identified which are associated with particular types of problem behaviour. Risk factors are claimed to increase the chance that a child will grow into a young person or adult with one or more of the four problem behaviours: involvement in youth crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, or school failure (Communities That Care, 1998). Second, the social developmental model of behaviour proposes that protective factors can buffer children and young people against the negative consequences of risk. Protective factors can include issues such as strengthening parental-child relationships, and giving children and young people the opportunities to be involved and valued in their families, schools and communities.

Investing In Our Youth is governed by a Board with representation from government and non-government sectors including health, welfare, education, local and regional government organisations and child and youth service networks. This executive decision making forum advocates for the needs of children, young families and young people in the South West Region as part of a process in which communities seek to reduce the risks facing children, young people and their families, and to enhance those elements that will protect them and promote their well-being.