The Department of Children and Families and CSR’s Lifelong Family Connections for Adolescents programs are working together to improve outcomes for you in foster care. Lifelong Family Connections for Adolescents prevents youth from aging out of the foster care system without a significant family connection in their life. According to the National Resource Center for Youth Services, more than 20,000 adolescents exit the foster care system annually without full preparation for adulthood. Adolescents are best prepared to transition to adulthood when they have at least one caring, committed adult in their life. Child welfare agencies have increasingly been concerned about the well-being of youth who age out of the foster care system without having developed permanent ties to families who can assist then as they transition into adulthood. A significant percentage of homeless youth were previously in foster care. Research indicates that “aging out” without ties to a family leaves teens without resources to establish themselves as self-supporting.
The Lifelong Family Connections for Adolescents program uses seven approaches to develop lifelong family relationships for adolescents in the foster care system. All components are youth-driven, strengths-based and culturally competent.
Community Care Review
Identifies, locates and explores all potential individuals willing and able to make a commitment to a teen.
Specialized Adolescent Recruitment
Develops potential permanent placement and/or lifelong family ties for youth who do not have permanent connections within their own Community of Care network.
Youth Consultation Team
Youth-centered, family-focused permanency planning team process that includes the youth, family members, significant adults and social service providers.
Provides a group experience that helps prepare adolescents as they work to develop lifelong family connections
Parents As Tender Healers (PATH)
Adult training to assist in supporting and developing relationships and understanding adolescents’ needs.
MFFK Speak Out Team
Offers support, training and mentoring opportunities from other youth and young adults who have experienced foster care and/or adoption.
Specialized Post-Placement Services
Ongoing contact to identify supports, strategize and problem solve relationship issues and maintain strengths-based focus.
LFC’s success is founded on collaboration of all parties and a commitment to a youth-driven process. Training, support and ongoing supervision are essential for all professionals and collaterals in the program and are provided regularly.