- Child Welfare Workers
- Child Welfare Supervisors
- Social Services Non-child Welfare
- Court Personnel/Legal Professionals
- Caregivers and Potential Caregivers
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
- Utilize Youth-guided Team
The Vital Link, developed by the National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD), is a training curriculum designed to address challenges such as homelessness, poverty and unemployment that interfere with an older youth’s ability to make a successful transition from foster care to independent living.
The training goals include:
- to understand the importance of involving youth in the child welfare organization.
- to understand the philosophy of youth development.
- to identify attitudes, behaviors and assumptions when working with youth.
- to understand the importance of youth-adult partnership.
- to develop a plan for involving and engaging a youth.
The Vital Link workshop series helps participants to gain new insights and effective strategies to engage, to assess and to understand the risks for an adolescent who emancipates without adequate preparation and sustained support. It focuses on developing a long-range strategy to prepare the adolescent for independent living while identifying appropriate persons to provide mentorship and ongoing developmental support.
After the Vital Link training is complete, it is recommended that professionals also participate in two additional workshops: Life Long Connections: Permanency for Older Youth and Engaging Youth in Transition Planning. A professional who participates in the entire series becomes better prepared to support a youth’s transition to adulthood, including the achievement of independent living; lifelong connections with caring adults; and development to promote the youth’s future success.
Life Long Connections defines what permanent connections are and why they are so vital to youth. This workshop prepares workers to talk with a youth about connections and, with the youth’s involvement, to develop strategies to facilitate connections that will promote permanency.
Engaging Youth in Transition Planning defines transition planning, examines the importance of youth engagement in the context of adolescent brain development, explores how youths’ experiences impact their willingness to engage, defines the stages of the transition planning process and clarifies the federal legislation that guides this work.
This workshop is intended for child welfare staff who engage older adolescents in developing the youths’ independent-living plans and for foster caregivers who provide older adolescents day-to-day nurturing, guidance and support. It is designed for a child welfare trainer and a trainer with lived experience to train together. A train-the-trainer course also is available. The Vital Link is a 2-day, 12-hour session and is recommended as the first course in the series. Life Long Connections and Engaging Youth in Transition Planning are recommended after the Vital Link course. Each of these is a 1-day, 6-hour course.
The Vital Link is a program developed the NRCYS which provides the trainers for the curriculum. This training can be done for organizations. The fee is based on the number of participants attending, a daily rate for the trainers, material costs and travel expenses (if conducted in person). An estimated cost ranges from $1,000-$1,200 per trainer per day.