The Children’s Village, Dobbs Ferry, NY

Permanency for Teens

Abstract: The Children’s Village (CV) has worked in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children for nearly 160 years. We provide residential and community-based services focused on keeping children safe and, whenever possible, with their families in the community. In 2004, CV began a comprehensive approach to an initiative commonly called Families for Teens. Known as Permanency for Teens, the goal was to find at least one stable, appropriate, and willing adult resource for every youth in our residential programs without one. In so doing, our intent was to prevent homelessness for youth aging out of foster care and improve the outcomes for youth whose well-being had been negatively impacted by the absence of a permanent resource.

CV developed a set of approaches and expectations uniquely structured to wrap around each youth in need. We identified a number of successful components and combined them to create a multi-pronged team approach that established resources and prepared youth for their transition “home.”Through a gradual matching process, this new method allowed both the youth and identified resource to talk about their expectations, hopes, and barriers, and feel in control of their progress. Since the program’s implementation, we have seen an increased number of youth matched with new families in addition to significantly shortened lengths-of-stay in residential care. Currently, 50% of the targeted youth have been adopted or are living successfully in the community with a permanent adult resource, and lengths-of-stay have been reduced by more than a year, giving hope to youth who otherwise had none.

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