The Search Institute, an independent nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, has researched what children need to succeed in life. Over the last 50 years, the Search Institute has found a framework that includes 40 key developmental assets. The "40 Developmental Assets" as many people refer to them, are common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them become caring, productive, and responsible adults.
The developmental assets are spread across eight broad areas of human development and classified as external and internal assets. The external asset categories include Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, and Constructive Use of Time. These external asset categories focus on relationships and activities that create a positive environment for youth. The internal asset categories include Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies, and Positive Identity. These internal assets focus on internal values, skills, and beliefs that young people need. At the core of the developmental asset framework is that we all have the power to build assets for young people through positive relationships.