Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $600,000)
Placement stability is a strong predictor of successful outcomes for youth involved in child welfare services. Unfortunately, thousands of youth in Massachusetts experience placement transitions each year and hundreds of young people age out of care without an adequate permanency plan. To support youth who experience transitions from one placement to another as well as those transitioning to independence, LUK, Inc. has developed a new program called Transitions to serve young people in Central Massachusetts. This program offers four direct service activities as well as capacity building for providers who work with young people through the transition process. The activities include universal transition planning for young people ages 15-24 (inclusive) within the agency, using tools and templates developed for this project. The planning process will be followed by rapid contact (within 72 hours) with all youth transitioning out of one of LUK’s placement services. Based on an assessment during this contact, young people may enroll into short-term or longer-term services in the Transitions program. Brief, short-term transition assistance will be available for young people who have transitioned out of a LUK placement setting and need additional support to navigate this change successfully. Longer-term services will be available for young people who have transitioned out of care to independence. Their emancipation from care means that support immediately ends. The Transitions program offers a way for these young people to re-engage with supportive services, without re-enrolling in child welfare or juvenile justice services. Transitions staff ensure that young people receiving short-term or longer-term services receive coordinated, effective care that is centered on the young person’s voice. These young people will also have access to case management, crisis intervention, referral support, and more, as well as LUK’s emergency services on-call support. Services will be provided using Positive Youth Development and Trauma-Informed Care principles along with the evidence-based Motivational Interviewing model, resulting positive youth outcomes (e.g., placement stability, development of independent living skills).