- Child Welfare Workers
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.
- Engage Specialized Staff
- Support Youth Empowerment
- Prioritize Legal, Relational and Cultural Permanence
Teen Focus is a community-based program that addresses the permanency needs of youths ages 16 – 21 who have the goal of Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement (APPLA). Through educational advocacy, academic support, vocational/employment readiness and life skills support, Teen Focus helps these young persons to build meaningful connections to improve their transitions into adulthood.
The program model of Teen Focus uses multiple, evidence-based, best practices to achieve permanency and independence outcomes through the use of the following:
- Child-focused Recruitment
- Considering the youth’s individual circumstances, needs and history
- Family Search and Engagement
- Employing strategies aimed at uncovering the youth’s history and uplifting connections with the youth’s birth family and culture
- 3-5-7®Model – Clarification, Integration and Actualization
- Helping youth understand the events of their life story
- Empowering the youth to engage in reconciling losses
- Fostering important relationships while also incorporating aspects of child development, trauma, attachment, family systems, relationship development and separation-grief-and-loss theories
- Building Opportunities for Legal and Relational Permanency
- Focusing on achieving legal permanency while also working with the youth to establish positive relationships with adults who can help the young person to develop permanent networks of support
- Educational Advocacy
- Providing resources to help the youth earn a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma (GED), prepare for navigating college or other postsecondary paths and explore career options and interests
- Life Skills Building
- Providing opportunities for the youth to learn important life skills
The teaming structure of Teen Focus includes:
- 1 Program Coordinator – Oversees the program
- 3 Permanency Specialists – Perform permanency and clarification work
- 2 Educational Specialists – Advocate for the youth’s education and building of life skills
To stay focused on youth goals, site teams are recommended to use permanency tools such as the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment (CANS), the Youth Connections Scale (which guides conversations with youths about their current connections and persons with whom they can reconnect in the future), ecomaps and genograms. Recommended educational tools include the CANS and a life skills assessment (which includes skills necessary for adulthood, such as cooking, budgeting, cleaning, transportation, etc.). The life skills assessment will help educational specialists to develop goals that consider each youth’s individual circumstances; it also will inform the development of workshop topics.
Permanency and educational specialists need to conduct a minimum of one face-to-face visit per month with each youth. Other communications, such as via text messaging and Zoom video visits, need to happen regularly with each youth as well.
Treatment team meetings (or planning meetings) need to be scheduled quarterly with each youth and the youth’s entire provider team. Staff members need to ensure that collateral communications with the youth’s provider team and appropriate transition planning are ongoing.
In addition, staff members will be in charge of providing workshops for youths in the targeted age groups. These can include activities such as job fairs with local employers actively looking to hire, medical-based workshops with universities (highlighting the importance of using primary care rather than emergency or urgent care) and life skill trainings hosted at restaurants (focusing on learning how to cook healthier meals on a budget).