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Embracing a "Youth Welfare" System: A Guide to Capacity Building

Embracing a “Youth Welfare” System: A Guide to Capacity Building

This guide focuses on challenges that state child welfare agencies face when working with youth. To address these challenges, the guide presents the Youth Welfare approach, which outlines how agencies can shift from a child-focused system to a youth-focused system by implementing practices that support youth and their needs. Agencies and others working with youth in care can access the complete guide or download the tools, which include a graphic and several exercises to build staff knowledge and skills in youth welfare.

  • Embracing a “Youth Welfare” System: A Guide to Capacity Building (PDF- 1,116 KB) presents guidance and examples to illustrate the Youth Welfare approach for working with youth in foster care. The Youth Welfare approach recommends shifting from a child-focused system that is reactive, case plan driven, and protection focused to a youth-focused system that is proactive, youth driven, developmentally framed, and normalcy oriented. This guide also provides examples of service provision for youth in foster care and describes how to improve services by using a Good-Better-Best continuum approach. Practical tools are included to assist readers in exploring the Youth Welfare approach to service provision.
  • The Parameters of Youth Welfare (PDF - 390 KB) offers guidelines and practical suggestions for shifting from a child-focused system that is often reactive, case plan driven, and protection focused to a youth-focused system that is proactive, youth driven, developmentally framed, and normalcy focused. 
  • Shifting Our Lens From Child Welfare to Youth Welfare Graphic (PDF - 204 KB) illustrates the four shifts that need to occur at the organizational and practice levels to establish a youth welfare system that meets the needs of youth in foster care.
  • Providing Health-Care Services for Youth in Care Along the Good-Better-Best Continuum (PDF - 220 KB) assists readers in exploring the Youth Welfare approach to service provision in the area of health care. This worksheet includes a case description of a young person who is about to transition from foster care, as well as a series of questions designed to guide the reader in crafting a health-care transition plan for the young person using the Good-Better-Best continuum of service provision.
  • A Youth Welfare Approach to Employment (PDF - 202 KB) offers examples of service provision for youth in foster care in the area of employment and describes how these services can be improved using a Good-Better-Best continuum approach. A worksheet is included to help agencies evaluate how well their employment services follow the Youth Welfare approach.
  • A Youth Welfare Approach to Financial Literacy (PDF - 231 KB) offers examples of service provision for youth in foster care in the area of financial literacy and describes how these services can be improved using a Good-Better-Best continuum approach. A worksheet is included to help agencies evaluate how well their financial literacy services follow the Youth Welfare approach.
  • Blank Worksheet: The Good-Better-Best Continuum of Service Provision (PDF - 215 KB) assists agencies in evaluating how well the services in an area of their choice follow the Youth Welfare approach.