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May 2024Vol. 25, No. 4Report on Modifying a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Mindfulness Curriculum for Transition-Age Youth in Foster Care

A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation describes modifying the mindfulness curriculum in each dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) module used with transition-age youth and young adults in foster care in Alameda County, CA. Modifying the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Mindfulness Curriculum Implemented With Transition-Age Youth and Young Adults in Foster Care explains DBT used by the Youth Transitions Partnership (YTP), the modification process, and recommendations. YTP is a program of the Alameda County Social Services Agency, which receives funding from the multiphase Youth At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) grant program, funded by the Children’s Bureau.

The Alameda County Social Services Agency conducted this mindfulness modification process to understand why some elements did not resonate with youth or were difficult for YTP coaches to facilitate. It also examined the differences youth and coaches perceived from the original and modified curriculum.

YTP evaluators used focus groups to understand the youth's perceptions of the curriculum before and after the modifications. This feedback, along with the insights from DBT practitioners and experts in mindfulness and meditation, was instrumental in modifying the cadence, framing, and structure of the sessions. The result was a modified curriculum that the youth found more engaging than the original, signaling a positive step forward. However, it was also noted that the curriculum could benefit from additional engagement and small-group activities instead of a lecture-like presentation, indicating further room for improvement.

Previously, the Alameda County Social Services Agency adjusted its DBT materials in YTP to make them more culturally inclusive and improve program attendance. Learn more about these changes in Adapting Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Transition-Age Youth and Young Adults in Foster Care. For more information on how Alameda County's YTP revised its program enrollment materials to improve youth enrollment and early engagement, read Alameda County's Youth Transitions Partnership Program: Lessons on Program Material Design.

Related item: For more information about the YARH project and its lessons learned, read this November 2021 article in Children's Bureau Express.