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
The goal of the youth group program is to engage youth in their own permanency planning. The program’s target audience includes youth in foster care, ages 13 -17, who currently have a permanency plan goal of adoption but have expressed some hesitancy or resistance about committing to their goal.
Through interactive activities, the youth group will explore participating youths’ past trauma history, conflicting loyalties, identity, grief and loss, and unresolved questions regarding the impact that permanency would have on the youths in the future. The group will provide a forum for the youths to support each other, to use creative outlets to express feelings and to learn ways to manage complex relationships. Foster care goals such as guardianship through kinship care also will be explored as a viable permanency option. In addition, the group will answer questions that the youths have about foster care goals as well as state and federal timelines that impact permanency.
Youth group objectives include:
- to increase youth identification of adult supports.
- to reduce youth misconceptions and concerns about adoption.
- to increase youth understanding of permanency options .
- to increase youth understanding of their birth/foster/adoption family loyalty issues and how these impact self-identity formation.
- to increase the ability of youth to feel that they have “a say” in decision-making regarding permanency.
The following should be considered when implementing the youth group model:
Two facilitators at a minimum are needed. The primary facilitator must be an adoption-competent clinician who is skilled in conducting groups with youth. A secondary facilitator must be a child welfare professional who is familiar with the child welfare continuum and with laws that impact permanency planning in the applicable state or tribal region. A third facilitator with lived experience as a youth in foster care and who was adopted or in kinship guardianship should be considered as well. In addition, a program administrator should be utilized to manage distribution of pre- and post-group surveys, notices and reminders to participating youths and their referring caseworkers.
The group is designed to meet for three 2.5-hour sessions. These are to be conducted virtually to facilitate access for participants. Each group should have no more than 12 and no fewer than 5 participants ages 13 through 17. Caseworkers must complete a comprehensive referral form for each youth, which includes email contact information for the youth and the youth’s caregiver.
A program budget should include funds for participant financial incentives, supplies and mailings, panel member honoraria and advertising materials. The purveyors can provide samples of materials that are needed to support the program. Purveyors also can provide a train-the-trainer course or can be hired to run the group.