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Dec/Jan 2010Vol. 10, No. 10The Emancipated Youth Connections Project

The California Permanency for Youth Project (CPYP) works with California counties to ensure that youth leave foster care with some kind of permanent connection with a caring adult. The CPYP emphasizes the importance of (1) involving youth in their own permanency planning and (2) using technology to help youth find family connections.

A recent publication from CPYP outlines a unique project in which 20 adults (ages 17-39) who had exited foster care with no permanent connections were provided with services to help them make those connections. The Emancipated Youth Connections Project Final Report/Toolkit describes the 18-month project. Data collected from 19 of the former foster youth show that, at the end of the project, 139 permanent connections had been made with kin and 42 permanent connections had been made with friends or others outside the family. In addition, the participants had learned more about their family histories, met more family members, and experienced greater self-esteem as a result of the process.

The Emancipated Youth Connections Project Final Report/Toolkit describes the 15-step program model developed to serve these former foster youth. Beginning with Step 1—Establishing a Relationship, the program model works through the process of helping a young person identify and make contact with kin or other important people in his or her life. The last few steps involve planning for closure, closing the case, and looking at lessons learned. The program model is designed to help youth make permanent connections, preferably before leaving foster care.

The Toolkit also includes a chapter on lessons learned from the project and recommendations. Youth involvement in the planning and implementation is emphasized. A further chapter addresses building the program model and looks at administrative issues, funding, training, assessment, and implementation. Finally, the Toolkit also includes participants' stories from the project, and appendices provide backup materials, including assessment instruments.

The Emancipated Youth Connections Project Final Report/Toolkit is available on the CPYP website: (3,020 KB)