- Child Welfare Workers
Targeted Age Group(s)
QIC-EY Engagement Model Components (i) The engagement model components were identified through the QIC-EY Environmental Scan as critical to the support of youth engagement in the attainment of permanence.
- Support Youth Empowerment
- Prioritize Legal, Relational and Cultural Permanence
In-Depth Profiles are creative storytelling projects that give youth in foster care a greater voice in finding permanency. Initially developed through a partnership between the Northwest Adoption Exchange (a program of Northwest Resource Associates) and the Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families, the In-Depth Profile model has been piloted in multiple states of the United States. It is best suited for child welfare agencies and other organizations seeking to involve youth in the permanency planning process while employing strengths-based recruitment techniques to encourage more families to step forward to adopt older youth.
In-Depth Profiles most often begin with two simple questions posed to youths who want to become involved: “What do you want to share with potential adoptive families?” and “How do you want to share it?” From there, youth engagement specialists collaborate with youths to carry out the youths’ visions from an initial brainstorming session to content creation, including a complete review, editing and approval process. Youths are engaged from start to finish, producing results that are authentic and inspiring.
Creations of participating youths range from videos to podcasts, photography, artwork, written narratives and more. They tell each youth’s story in whatever form the youth wants to share it. Northwest Resource Associates youth engagement specialists are also highly skilled in digital media production. This combination of professional skills enables them to help a youth produce an In-Depth Profile that, for example, creatively features poetry or original artwork, demonstrates the youth’s passion for cooking in the kitchen, shares dreams about attending college or shows through an album of songs how important music is to the young person. Every In-Depth Profile looks different because every youth has something unique to share.
Northwest Resource Associates staff members have experience implementing the In-Depth Profile model with agencies interested in expanding their internal youth engagement capacity as well as with agencies that prefer to contract Northwest Resource Associates to provide the full service. To address each agency’s area of focus, a mix of training and technical assistance materials and supports is available. This mix includes training manuals, a style guide, templates, plus in-person and remote training and coaching. These supports focus on the five stages of the In-Depth Profile model, which are:
- Identify youths, and partner with their caseworkers.
- Engage, create and produce the youths’ In-Depth Profiles.
- Promote the In-Depth Profiles.
- Respond to interested families.
- Evaluate success.
Northwest Resource Associates is capable and skilled at handling all stages of the model. Each interested agency may wish to partner with Northwest Resource Associates in varying degrees, depending on the agency’s own capabilities. Because of the digital media production skills required to produce compelling, creative, authentic In-Depth Profiles, Northwest Resource Associates encourages agencies to use its services for content production.
Agencies may implement the model as either an in-person or a remote intervention. In-Depth Profiles have proven successful in both settings. During the Children’s Bureau’s Adoption Call to Action, In-Depth Profiles were completed almost entirely remotely with youths in Michigan and Oregon in partnership with local agencies. Despite the challenges of remote engagement, evaluation of these projects by AdoptUSKids showed an increase of more than 200% in inquiries about participating youths by interested families after completion of the youths’ In-Depth Profiles.
Finally, interested agencies should consider how In-Depth Profiles can support the work of their existing recruitment practices. From photolisting and specialized recruitment to searches for relatives and family-finding efforts, In-Depth Profiles present an opportunity to build on existing practices by elevating youth voice in a manner that can be championed through a team-based approach.