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How to Support Young People

Supporting Young People

For individual youth and their caseworkers, a youth-centered teaming approach provides more support and leads to better outcomes. Teaming involves collaborative work on the part of team members towards mutually agreed upon goals, valuing all participants for what they can contribute to the process, embracing the unique perspectives of all team members, a strong sense of purpose, trusting relationships, and a sense of shared responsibility.

Judges, attorneys, CASAs, therapists, foster parents, caregivers, teachers, mentors other community members, and young people may serve as members of a youth’s team, depending on the roles, strengths, needs and preferences of the young person. When they are not members of a youth’s team, these individuals can support the teaming process to promote positive outcomes for each young person in foster care.

Communities that join together to take responsibility and support youth transitioning to adulthood can have a tremendous impact on the lives and outcomes of these young people.

What Judges Can Do:

At each hearing, the judge can ask: 

  • How is your team working for you? 
  • Are you getting what you need from your team members? 
  • Is your team helping you move forward in having a permanent family and in being prepared for adulthood? 
  • What more do you need from your team?
  • Encouraging youth voice; help them understand what is going on, that that they are being heard and have a say in their future.

What Attorneys Can Do:

Attorneys can ask their clients: 

  • What is happening in your work with your team? 
  • Is your team providing you with the supports and resources that you need? 
  • Are your needs being met by your team? 
  • Attorneys can communicate with their clients’ caseworkers and other team members about issues that the youth identifies as barriers to progress and advocate for the youth’s needs and goals.

What CASAs and GALs Can Do:

CASAs and GALs can talk with young people about what is most important to them. They can support youth in sharing with team members their goals for themselves so that the team focuses on what the youth wants. They can contact team members to advocate for the young person who feels that the team is missing the mark. Encouraging youth to become engaged in extracurricular and service learning projects would strengthen their social skills as well as life skills. Encourage youth voice; help them understand what is going on, that that they are being heard and have a say in their future.

What Foster Parents and Other Caregivers Can Do:

Foster parents can help young people think about their goals and hopes for the future. They can support young people in bringing their goals and hopes to the team. Encouraging youth to become engaged in extracurricular and service learning projects would strengthen their social skills as well as life skills. role. Encourage youth voice; help them understand what is going on, that that they are being heard and have a say in their future.

What Therapists Can Do:

Therapists can support young people in participating actively on their teams. They can help them to identify and manage the emotions that may arise as they collaborate with adults on their teams and take on a team leadership role.

What Teachers, Mentors, and Other Community Members Can Do:

Teachers, mentors, and other community members can support young people in strengthening their skills in expressing themselves and communicating their needs, goals and hopes. They can encourage young people to use their teams to reach their goals. Encouraging youth to become engaged in extracurricular and service learning projects would strengthen their social skills as well as life skills.

What Other Young People Can Do:

Other young people in foster care can share their teaming experiences and provide their peers with encouragement in working with their teams to achieve their goals.