CYC has continously participated in various special projects throughout the years. Please see below for our current and past special projects.
Breakthrough Series Collaborative on the Transformation
of the Independent Living Program (BSC ILP)
The BSC ILP was a statewide effort to transform the Independent Living Program from 2008-2010, co-chaired by CYC. The focus was to shift ILP services to better meet the needs of individual youth. The county teams participated in the 18-month process with core teams composed of youth, caregivers, social workers, community partners and senior administrators in the counties. Each participant identified ways in which they could improve ILP and “tested” their ideas in small ways, building on their innovative ideas as they received feedback from their test groups. A CYC staff and a member participated in the BSC ILP as faculty trainers, providing ongoing support to the nine county teams on effective practices for engaging youth in developing, improving and evaluating ILP services.
The 3 pillars which the work of the BSC ILP revolved around were education, employment and permanency and 5 goals were identified:
- Young people are at the heart of planning and decision-making about their lives;
- Caregivers and service providers are critical partners in skill-building and strengthening permanency and community connections starting at an early age and as a continuous developmental process;
- Permanency, education, and employment are primary practice areas to be integrated within a youth’s daily life, rather than offered as training in workshops;
- Youth experience individualized planning and have access to a broad array of relevant, developmentally appropriate services, supports and opportunities to meet their needs; and
- Transition services are community-based, leverage resources and opportunities, and are coordinated across public and private systems.
The Project resulted in youth and caregivers playing more significant roles in the development and evaluation of services and many counties created permanent paid positions for youth and caregivers to provide ongoing partnership. Counties are continuing to build on the work of the BSC ILP and as a result the State is continuing to invest resources in increasing opportunities for youth participation in policy and practice development and implementation by funding a Statewide Youth Council.
Humbolt County Transition Age Youth Collaborative
In 2009, California Youth Connection became a partner of the Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaborative (HCTAYC). Partners include CYC, the Youth Training Project, Youth In Mind and the County of Humboldt. The group brings together organizations and individuals to improve the services youth receive as they transition into adulthood and become independent. By using the experience and skills of the collaborators and the expertise gained through experience by Humboldt County’s youth, the collaborative find ways to make the systems of care for transition age youth better and more responsive to young people's needs and feedback.
HCTAYC’s areas of focus for systems improvement include: mental health, homelessness, foster care, juvenile justice, alcohol and drug abuse, transitional housing, employment services, and any other services transition age youth use.
For more information, you can check out their website at: http://www.humboldtyouth.org/
Youth Led Evaluation Project (YLEP)
2003 - 2006, the Youth Led Evaluation Project (YLEP) was an Alameda County based project initiated by Casey Family Programs and sponsored by The California Endowment and Zellerbach Family Foundation. CYC served as the lead organization and Community Crime Prevention Associates, Movement Strategy Center, and Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocates participated as collaborating organizations.
The Purpose of YLEP: To evaluate the quality of care provided in group homes in Alameda County, while educating foster youth about their rights and making recommendations on how group homes can offer more support to the youth living in them. We surveyed 32 Alameda County group homes that were supported by the CASA Group Homes Project.
The YLEP Team: Project Coordinator and Youth Evaluators, current or former group home youth who were between the ages of 16-21 years old. Youth Evaluators were employed by CYC on a contract basis and worked between 5-30 hours per week, depending on the tasks that needed to be accomplished. Primary responsibilities included developing and implementing the surveys, analyzing the data collected, and creating recommendations to the State and County.
Mission Statement: To steer the direction of our project; to develop the youth-led evaluation process so that youth’s ideas and opinions are heard, documented, and used to improve group homes by operating at optimal efficiency.
Research Question: What level of support, care, and resources are group homes providing youth and how can group homes better meet the needs of youth?
Alameda County Recommendation: Group Home Residents Need increased Pre-Emancipation Planning
Statewide Recommendation: Group Home Residents Need Increased Support to Succeed at School and Work
Implementation: In 2006, the Alameda CYC Chapter adopted the YLEP recommendations and is now working with policymakers to ensure that they are implemented. The major vehicle for this work will be a new CYC-led working group which includes: Chet Hewitt, Director of the Alameda County Department of Social Services (who is very supportive of CYC and the study recommendations); and leaders from the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission, Alameda County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Alameda County Department of Employment, Alameda County Department of Education, Casey Family Programs, and California Alliance (a membership organization for group homes). This is the first time in CYC history that a chapter will create and lead an ongoing policy implementation group, and it is a new paradigm that will likely be a model for other CYC chapters and local and state policymakers. Alameda Chapter members are proud to be the conveners, coordinators, and leaders of local group home reform.
Please review our YLEP Report to read more about the important work we accomplished!