Building from Success: Perceived benefits and implementation challenges of comprehensive service models for youth and young adults at-risk of homelessness

Publication Date: November 12, 2021
The first page of the brief, entitled  "Building from Success: Perceived benefits and implementation challenges of comprehensive service models for youth and young adults at-risk of homelessness"

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  • Pages: 4
  • Published: 2021

Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What benefits did respondents perceive youth and young adults receivedfrom the comprehensive service models?
  2. How did the comprehensive service models result in perceived changes in how youth and young adults receive services within the child welfare system?

This brief describes perceived benefits of the Youth At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH) comprehensive service models to youth and young adults and child welfare systems. The brief provides recommendations for implementing models intended to reduce homelessness among youth and young adults with child welfare involvement. The brief should be of interest to federal and state policymakers.

Purpose

This brief is part of a series that summarizes high-level themes from a process study of grantees’ activities and accomplishments during the implementation grant period (2015-2019) of six grantees’ comprehensive service models. This brief summarizes perceived benefits of YARH-2 services to participating youth and young adults, positive influence of comprehensive service models within the child welfare system, and recommendations for future implementation. Additional details are available in the full process study report.

 

Key Findings and Highlights

  • Youth practitioners gave youth and young adults time and attention and learned youth-centered approaches to empower them to advocate for themselves and create solutions to their challenges.
  • Youth practitioners prioritized establishing a trusting relationship with youth and young adults.
  • Youth and young adults enjoyed regular contact with their youth practitioner because they received support and perceived investment in their goals.
  • The comprehensive service models supported youth in expressing their needs and requesting services according to their preferences and goals.
  • Model services helped youth and young adults advocate for themselves in their interactions with formal supports.
  • Convening meetings with the different supports in the youth or young adult’s life helped align supports behind their goals
  • Over time, the model services appeared to empower youth and young adults and increase their self-advocacy skills.
  • Implementing the models resulted in stronger relationships and learning among local child welfare entities and changing conversations within the child welfare system
  • Model services provided by youth practitioners were increasingly appreciated and recognized as an extension of existing child welfare services.

Methods

This brief is a synthesis of Chapter V (perceived benefits of comprehensive service models) and Chapter VI (recommendations and conclusions) of the full YARH-2 process study report.

Recommendations

  • Prepare leaders for success
  • Engage stakeholders in planning
  • Document an implementation plan
  • Establish continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes
  • Hire youth practitioners committed to engaging youth and young adults
  • Access funding to encourage youth and young adults to participate
  • To minimize the effect of staff turnover, educate partners often
  • To encourage initial youth engagement, focus on the individual and immediate needs of youth and young adults and support them in developing long-term planning skills
  • To encourage ongoing engagement, anticipate challenges to youth and young adults’ engagement and validate their frustrations

Glossary

OPRE:
Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation
YARH:
Youth At Risk of Homelessness, acronym used to represent the initiative funded by Administration for Children & Families to support communities in addressing homelessness among youth and young adults with child welfare involvement