Runaway and Homeless Youth Case Study 2
Organization: Starry SAFE Place, Round Rock, TX
Program Name: Children at the Heart Ministry
Funding: Runaway and Homeless Youth Grants
Curricula used: Relationship Smarts PLUS
Curricula benefits: Adaptable to the time, audience and teaching space.
Target Audience:Teens (under 20); who are runaway, homeless, on probation, court appointed and or in respite care.
For foster kids participating in this program, their biological parents range from either very involved or wanting no contact whatsoever. The typical parent usually has some substance abuse issues, mental health issues, legal issues, or a combination of all three.
Audience Demographics: Gender: Our client population is typically evenly spread between male and female. Ethnicity: Our kids tend to be very diverse. Typically Caucasian, African American and or Hispanic.
Class size: Eight to twelve young people or one-on-one in the host homes
Location of Instruction: Basic Center and host homes. (The Basic Center Shelter houses up to 20 youth. A host home is licensed for foster care and can house 6 foster youth for up to 45 days).
Length of Instruction: 19 one hour lessons – the 12 lessons in Relationship Smarts PLUS 3.0 has been expanded to 19 lessons (15 minutes of ice breaker time and 45 minutes on lesson materials.) When working one-one with clients, we start with foundational topics in lessons 1 and 2 and then choose specific lessons to address specific needs. This is with only some participants who are more challenging in one-on-one sessions.
Utilization of teacher and student materials: Each student gets a workbook.
Outcomes: This is an example of using foundational lessons and then more specific lessons to address an issue: A female client was removed from her home due to conflict with her mother. After going over the foundational lessons, the instructor used active listening, anger management, and time outs from lesson 10.This helped the client talk to her mother about what was going on. She was able to move back home. Her mother also learned the communication tools. This was a very successful approach.
Challenges: Teens not staying through whole program due to placement in a foster home or leaving the shelter. A lot of writing in the journal. We may have them do some of the work during their room time. Dealing with the topic of sex is difficult because they are living in the shelter together.
Tips: Our case managers start prepping a few days in advance. They bounce ideas off of each other and have brainstorming sessions with the program manager. Typically they use direct care staff feedback to identify what specific issues our youth may need support around. For example, shift notes are a wealth of information. Getting teens involved and bought in usually starts with building rapport. Also, keeping the material interesting and relevant to the teens. Receiving feedback from the youth and adjusting as they go is important.