ASCI Launches New Youth Program to Work with Ages 12-21

ASCI is proud to announce our new youth program! The High Impact Unit (HIU) is a new ASCI operational strategy designed to work with youth between the ages 12-21 who have been recognized by our In-Home Clinical Services team as being in need of a higher level of service and engagement. The HIU will help youth attain stability and wellness through advocacy, communication, education, resource identification and supportive services.  

“The team sought to create this High Impact Unit, as they recognized that there are ‘young people of promise’ needing additional attention, in order to address the historic systemic issues that are often present in under-resourced communities (i.e., poverty, undereducation, underemployment, etc.)” says ASCI CEO Dr. Sharon McDaniel. These critical issues are pervasive in under-resourced communities and can negatively impact a young person’s self-efficacy, self-esteem and life trajectory. As a result, this unit is being developed to dismantle and deconstruct this all too often challenging narrative for our youth and create both counter narratives and resiliency through an innovative, youth-informed, strengths-based and upstream initiative.”

ASCI’s Executive Vice President of Child and Family Services Tara Skibiel adds, “We wanted to come up with an innovative strategy to really help support our youth in a creative and hands-on approach, which led to the HIU. The goal is to empower and help our kids to meet all of their potential. We want to make an impact!”

The benefits of the HIU program include the opportunity to provide a higher level of support, improved ability to reduce disruptions, improved trusting relationships for youth, ensured safety and much more. This program will be an effective approach to ensure that a youth’s transitional period between congregate care and placement with their birth parents or kin is made easier.  

HIU Family & Systems Impacts

Skibiel explains, “It’s really a unique program. We’re hoping to have high relationships with our youth and intensive service delivery. Because we have a lower caseload for our workers in this unit, our caseworkers can spend an intensive amount of time with our youth to help them hands-on. So, if it’s a matter of, they need to go and apply for a job, we take you to go and apply for that job if you need. If you’re having a rough day and you need to go for a socially distanced walk, we’re out there with you.” 

Youth will be paired with HIU caseworkers who have been trained in this process and maintain continuity of care with Point of Contact caseworkers, with both caseworkers working diligently to make sure youth have the most positive outcomes.  

“It’s an innovative approach where we want to start from day one to give youth that support while we’re still working with the caregiver,” Skibiel says. “It’s going to be double-level support for everybody to help get through what can be challenging, particularly depending on a new placement, or if you’ve had a crisis in your life or if you’ve experienced a sudden loss recently, or something is going on and now you may be involved in the juvenile justice system. We want to help walk this path with you so that you can overcome any barrier that you see.” 

The HIU program is triad-focused, as its delivery enhances family engagement inclusive of specialized enrichment for kinship caregivers. As youth get the attention they need and their safety and well-being are better addressed, their caregivers will also experience a deeper peace of mind. 

Although this program is a work in progress, ASCI is certain it is a start to a better future for our youth! 

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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