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November 2003Vol. 4, No. 9STAR Project Focuses on Youth Leaving Foster Care

STAR ("Successful Transitions for Adult Readiness") is a Children's Bureau-funded project to train child welfare practitioners to work effectively with youth transitioning out of foster care through the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

Developed using multidisciplinary focus groups and input from a culturally diverse advisory board of experts and representatives, the training emphasizes collaboration among all care providers, preparation for leaving care that begins the moment youth enter care, youth-driven planning, and "protecting and raising" (rather than just "protecting") youth.

Three levels of training are included in the project:

  • For service providers. This 3-day curriculum is designed to impact practice and policy in child welfare, leading ultimately to improved outcomes for youth leaving foster care.
  • For managers/supervisors. This 6-hour training addresses issues related to larger policy considerations and ongoing supervision (e.g., integration of independent living work with all other aspects of the job).
  • For trainers. This 10-hour session is designed to equip trainers of independent living skills service providers with the STAR training curricula. Special emphasis is placed on supporting the paradigm shift from "protecting" to "protecting and raising" adolescents in the foster care system.

Training participants have cited many benefits, including increased interagency collaboration and increased youth involvement in planning.

The STAR project is a public-private partnership between the Public Child Welfare Training Academy, Casey Family Programs, San Diego County Health and Human Services, Southern Indian Health Council, and Grossmont College Foster and Kinship Care Education, Children's Initiative. Full curricula, background information, and suggestions for implementing the training successfully are available on the Public Child Welfare Training Academy website at