Targeted Age Group(s)
- 18 or older
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
My Life is a program model for agencies serving young people in foster care (or similar settings) who are planning for the transition to independence. The purpose of the model is to support young people in learning how to direct their lives, to achieve their educational goals and to transition to adulthood. Grounded in self-determination enhancement, My Life provides youth with 9-12 months of youth-directed, relationship support and coaching in applying achievement, partnership and self-regulation skills to identify and to reach goals. Workshops bring together participants and successful near peers who also have lived experience in foster care. Near-peer mentoring workshops are co-led by older young adults with similar lived experiences. Workshops focus on topics selected by youth and provide opportunities for learning (e.g., scavenger hunt to locate programs on a college campus), sharing experiences and ideas, and engaging in fun community activities.
Each youth works toward self-identified, educational and/or transitional goals, shares personal goals and support needs with important adults during a youth-led meeting and develops at least one individual plan for future support with a trusted adult.
Participating youth are provided with a minimum of 40 hours (9-month intervention) and up to 55 hours (12-month intervention) of youth-directed, weekly coaching. This is provided at school, community or home locations and at times convenient for the youth. My Life is a positive, youth development program that is accessible to youth with varying abilities and challenges. However, the approach is not designed to provide treatment or crisis support. Once enrolled, coaches continue to work with youth regardless of changes in placement, school or foster care status; arrest; being on the run; health crisis; etc.
There are two approaches offered for agencies interested in implementing My Life: 1) training and supervision for child welfare agency staff to achieve full certification in delivering the My Life model with fidelity as an evidence-based practice and 2) staff training for agencies interested in implementing selected, youth skill-building components of the model as an enhancement to ongoing service delivery. The cost will depend on formal certification of staff.
Implementation of My Life requires a license agreement. Delivery of coaching requires completion of 32 hours of group or individual certification training provided by a certified My Life supervisor, followed by 32 hours of in-person or distance supervision during 9-12 months of coaching with at least two youths. My Life supervisor certification first requires My Life coaching certification and two years of experience coaching at least four youths. Supervisor training involves collaboratively planning and facilitating a group-coach certification training class with a certified My Life trainer, followed by 20 hours of supervised My Life coach supervision during the following year.
Coaches complete a fidelity checklist to document their implementation of required program elements, and they collect at least three videotapes or audiotapes of their work with youth for self-reflection and professional development discussion during supervision. There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program, and there is a training available for this program.