The Stepping into Families™ program at A Second Chance, Inc., provides services to children who are currently in congregate care settings or more restrictive placements and are active with Washington County Children and Youth Services. These children/youth—who vary in age, gender and race—need to have their kinship resources explored to potentially be placed with kin. The Youth Transition Coordinator begins service delivery when the county caseworker makes a referral. At the time of referral, the coordinator engages with the youth to gather information about their life, opinions and placement preferences. A thorough case review is completed to gather knowledge of child and family system involvement and previous placement history. Once family is discovered through various means of contact and family finding letters, a Blended Perspective Meeting and Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) are conducted.
ASCI’s dedicated staff works to ensure that a permanent, stable placement is located for the children receiving services in our program, with a focus on kinship. Once a child has kin identified, said kin completes the certification process of licensing. The youth placement occurs while certification of the home is completed. During the stabilization process for the family, ongoing case management and permanency services via Point of Contact are provided. Stepping into Families™ stabilization services are consistently assessed until the case closes to permanency, to ensure the child/youth and family have the necessary supports to be successful.
Youth Transition Coordinators must be equipped to assess all the families with whom we work. Therefore, our training provides practical experiences that foster competency in child welfare issues. All coordinators are trained in:
- Family finding;
- Engagement skills;
- Issues of separation and loss;
- Behavior management;
- Human diversity;
- Sensitivity to issues of ethnicity, race, socio-cultural and economic status.
Referrals to the Program
ASCI has the capacity to receive any referrals from the county at any time. Washington County caseworkers can contact a Youth Transition Coordinator at any point in time during normal business hours for assistance with family finding and locating possible kin placements for children in congregate care settings.
The Youth Transition Coordinator caseworker meets with the child/youth face-to-face within 72 hours of the referral and then, at minimum, once every 14 days. However, frequently the contact is multiple times per week. Relevant topics of discussion for these face-to-face communications may include how the child/youth is feeling; helping to identify kinship resources; individuals located; and any concerns the child/youth has.
For more information about Stepping into Families™, please contact Davida Allen at 412-342-0640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.