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Presented by: Bonita M. Campbell, MS, LSW Division Director Lighthouse Youth Services Inc. 401 East McMillan Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45206 513-487-7132 email@example.com
Lighthouse Youth Services (1969) • Foster Care • Group Homes • Youth Crisis Shelter • Family Services • Youth Outreach Services • Independent Living (1981) • Transitional Living • Wrap-around services • Correctional Services • Help Me Grow for high-risk infants and toddlers • Charter school
The Transitional Landscape in America • More “youth” in their 20s and 30s are still at home than at any other time since the Great Depression. 2. Average age of total financial independence is 26. 3. 60% of current college seniors planning on moving back home after graduation. 4. Youth employment rate the lowest since 1940s. • Many traditional entry-level jobs are now overseas. Many entry-level jobs have no health insurance.
6. A full-time minimum wage job in Ohio will pay for less than ½ of rent for a typical one-bedroom apartment. 7. Low-income housing agencies are blocking youth, ages 18-21 with juvenile records from applying. 8. Increases in gas, bus fare, utilities, car insurance, housing etc. have increased faster than wages. 9. Americans, 25-26, still get an average of $2,323 a year from parents. 10. Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, MRDD and Mental Health Systems are dropping 18 year olds due to budget deficits.
Compared to What? Foster youth “ Control group” • Leave at 18 or 21 -Go to college, return home, -Leave again when ready • No more support at 18/21 -Ave. of $2300 a year from parents • Must focus on immediate survival -Experiment with different careers/lifestyles • Often no chance to return -In and out several times if at all • Often have numerous risk factors -Can have several risk factors
The Core Principles of the Lighthouse ILP 1. The whole child welfare system has to own the transition process-not just the ILP staff. 2. Life skills training needs to start as early as possible in a formal way and then continued on an individual basis when a youth moves out on his/her own. 3. Youth learn best by direct experience. Youth must live semi-independently to be able to put to practice basic life skills. 4. Youth will make endless mistakes; this is part of the process. Mistakes must be looked at as learning opportunities. 5. The relationship with the ILP worker is key to a youth’s progress.
Core principles-continued 6. Not all youth will do well in the same living arrangement. New options need to be created to find the best fit. Youth might need to be moved several times to find the right fit. 7. Some youth will need additional services in order to make progress. Referring agencies need to be willing to pay for these services. 8. Some youth with special needs will need support from some outside source for the rest of their lives. 9. Developing a support network is important. But youth will determine who this is. Sometimes ILP staff will be the only people they come to for support. 10. Families should be engaged as much as possible and reunification should always be an option. However, it is often not a realistic solution for the youth’s long term survival needs. 11. The system needs to understand that the protective role the system plays for children has to be let go of in a balanced way. 12. There is no “adult system” that we can pass these youth on to for support after they are discharged.
The Lighthouse Youth Services Transition System Self-sufficiency training Youth Crisis Center Youth Outreach Program Independent Living Transitional Youth Program Emancipated Youth Program Transitional Living Program Shelter Plus Care Re-Entry Program Wrap-around services Community-management
Wrap Around Services • Individualized supportive services for youth with special needs • Can be used to stabilize or support high risk youth in independent living - Can be used for 7 day a week contact if necessary
The Continuum of IL/TL Housing Options Institutions Residential treatment Group homes Foster Homes Family home Relative homes Shelters Boarding homes Host homes Adult roommates Shared homes Supervised Apts. Dormitories Scattered-site Apts. Subsidized housing
Working with Youth with Special Needs in Independent Living Programs • Youth with mental health issues • Youth with MRDD issues • Teen moms • Sex-offenders • Youth with criminal records • Youth from different cultural backgrounds • GLBTQ youth • Chemically dependent youth • Youth with chronic medical problems • Youth involved in gangs • Youth with physical disabilities
Measuring Outcomes • Pre-post measurement of self-sufficiency skills • Achievement of client-established goals • Progress in money-management • Progress toward educational goals • Referring agency reports • Client satisfaction survey • GAF scores • Movement to a more appropriate program/situation • Stable housing at discharge • Less involvement in criminal activity • Fewer hospitalizations • Reunification with family/significant others
Challenges to Overcome • County Children’s Services Admin. resistance • County Juvenile Court resistance • State Licensing staff • Landlords • Court Appointed Special Advocates • Managed –Care • New County Administrator • Budget Crisis • New county IL Caseworkers • New county UMUR staff • MIS/Staff record keeping abilities
Summary of lessons learned 1.Existence and stability precede research-ability. A program threatened with funding cuts will focus on survival strategies and staff/service cuts and lose focus on services and outcomes. 2. Managing and changing the system is more important than managing the program. Getting they system to allow youth to stay in longer is more important than services for some youth. 3. There is not always agreement on what “success” means. To us having a third of your 18-19 year olds leave the system and take over the leases of their apartments is a huge success. To some that means 2/3rds of our client failed. 4. Non-profits are often the most stable part of the system. The public sector, which has more power, often has higher turnover and less field memory.