Abstract: An Innovative Model to Enhance Youth Engagement and Transitional Planning for Older Youth in out-of-Home Placements (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

15P An Innovative Model to Enhance Youth Engagement and Transitional Planning for Older Youth in out-of-Home Placements

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Elizabeth Greeno, PhD, Research Associate Professor, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Kevin Strubler, Lead Research Analyst, University of Maryland at Baltimore, MD
Carrie Gould-Kabler, Program Manager, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Sara Bowman, Senior Trianing Specialist, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Deborah Harburger, MSW, Clinical Instructor & Co-Director, Maryland Center, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Amanda Miller, MSW, Senior program specialist, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Purpose: An Enhanced Youth Transitional Planning (E-YTP) model for youth ages 14-21 was implemented in a mid-Atlantic state in five rural counties. E-YTP is an individualized, youth-driven, comprehensive, team-based transition planning process using the Achieve My Plan (AMP) model, developed by Portland State University. The goals of the E-YTP model are to increase the effectiveness of youth transition plans and life skills by increasing youth’s involvement in transition planning as well as providing specific training for the child welfare workforce around transition age youth planning and engagement.  

Methods: A mixed-methods design was used to evaluate the implementation and outcomes for the E-YTP model. Youth and child welfare workers were given a pretest in Spring 2017. A pre-test assessing substance use, well-being, and trauma were given to youth. All child welfare workers who were trained in AMP were given a pre-test before training. The pre-test involved a demographic questionnaire and Professional Quality of Life Scale and a modified version of the Perceived Organizational Support (POS) scale.  Focus groups for both youth and child welfare workers and supervisors were held in January 2019. Goals of the focus group were to assess the implementation experiences of the model and to assess the impact of E-YTP on youth transition planning in five main areas of function: housing, financial capability/planning, education/employment, mental health, and supportive relationships. A continuous quality improvement process was developed to assess coaching and core elements of E-YTP.

Results: Substance findings for youth at pretest indicate they were both drinking and using illicit substances below the national average. Well-being findings suggest that youth perceive a high level of well-being. Trauma findings suggest that youth likely meet the criteria for PTSD. For the workforce: results on the PQL suggest an average level of comparison satisfaction. Scores on the modified POS suggest respondents felt a high level of perceived support. Findings for the posttest for youth and workers will be available in summer 2019. Findings from the focus groups for youth suggest that youth are supportive of the E-YTP model. As per the model tenets, youth enjoyed meeting with their workers to prepare for E-YTP meetings. Youth also felt the model was positively influencing their preparation in the five domains of functioning. Workers reported that the model added time and tasks to their workweek but were supportive the model. Workers did not feel the model was influencing the five areas of functioning, but felt the model helped youth to learn to advocate for their needs. The CQI process illustrated what E-YTP elements were essential for reporting to the workforce, the need for data dissemination, as well as the need for frequent and intense coaching.

Conclusions:  The E-YTP model has the potential to change the child welfare workforce preparation with youth for exit from child welfare and youth transition planning. Findings from this study suggest that this specific, youth-driven intervention can be implemented in rural counties, with implementation support and a CQI process that includes data dissemination for child welfare supervisors and administrators.