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FGDM PROMISING PRACTICE: Youth in Transition Conferences (YTC)
Youth in Transition Conferences
Youth in transition conferences are a youth driven, strength based process to assist youth in moving from foster care to independent living. What makes this innovative is the process. For years, the youth in foster care have been involved in staffings where the focus has been on what they are doing wrong and what the adults want them to do. YTC’s brings in the people the youth identifies as their support system and identifies the strengths the youth has to accomplish the transition. The youth find this exceptionally empowering as it reframes what has been said to them to view the glass as half full instead of half empty. Though concerns are also identified, the youth is the person who identifies their personal goal (post secondary school, military service, Job Corps) and the group helps to identify strategies to assist the youth in achieving their goal. Adults are designated in their areas of expertise to help the youth accomplish the smaller steps to achieve the larger goal.
Research indicates one of the major barriers for the youth we are working with to being successful is their inability to be able to do long term projective planning. Youth may well have clear and achievable goals, but they do not know how to identify the in-between steps necessary. YTC assists the youth in breaking down the larger goal into smaller more manageable pieces which enhances their chances of success.
YTC is designed to make it clear to the youth they are not alone. Though they may not initially perceive themselves as having options and support, they in fact do have options and adults who can assist them. YTC are usually attended by care providers, guardian ad litems, probation officers, religious leaders from their church, extended family, friends, therapists and school personnel.
Education is a perfect example of how YTC’s assist the youth. By having a school representative, one of the major areas in the youth’s life becomes simpler. The youth has an adult within the system working on their behalf, who is personally invested in their success. The school representative is often times vital in helping to navigate the bureaucracy of the educational system to increase the probability of graduation. A significant number of youth in care had YTC’s during the school year and it was instrumental for preventing them from falling through the cracks and possibly not completing their high school education.
For More Information Contact: Lisa Berry, firstname.lastname@example.org
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