Emancipation Research Project – partial

During the last two years, HEY conducted The Emancipation Research Project (ERP) to examine the transition process from foster care to independence in San Francisco County. The Emancipation Research Project consisted of 27 in-depth interviews and more than 20 informal conversations and group discussions held in 2008-2009 with professionals and youth involved in the county’s dependency system. These professionals included current and former foster youth, advocates, policy makers, managers, line staff and others.

Emancipation Research Project Compilation

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Emancipation Research Project 2007-2009 Compilation of Findings: A collection of best practices and recommendations for change developed from research about aging out of foster care in San Francisco.

The full compilation is a collection of the twelve articles that have resulted from the data analysis, along with an Executive Summary and Project History. With the Emancipation Research Project, HEY seeks to guide practice with research – so the way the community serves youth is based on best practices. This is the purpose of each of these articles and tools found in the compilation. The recommendations are meant to be real-world and easily implementable improvements to how the community serves youth.

HEY Tools: Emancipation and Misconceptions

HEY Tools are meant to be quick reference guides for anyone needing a simple review of the emancipation process from foster care, the roles of professionals mandated to provide services to transitioning youth, and summaries of the basic issues. Each of these HEY Tools are San Francisco focused but could be relevant to anyone working with or for transitioning youth.

Emancipation Professionals and Transition Planning


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Emancipation Professionals and Transition Planning: How do Professionals Represent a Youth’s Decisions?

This HEY Tool would help foster youth, their families and other caregivers, as well as any other professional involved in a youth’s case understand why different players may advocate for different decisions to be made about a youth. It may ease communication during disagreements about a youth’s choices.

Roles in Transition Planning for Older Foster Youth


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Roles in Transition Planning for Older Foster Youth: Policy vs. Practice.

Preparing for emancipation is stressful, not only for the youth, but for all the other players involved in the youth’s case and their lives. In situations where a youth is preparing for independence, they need many supporters to assist with many tasks, before and after emancipation. This HEY Tool acknowledges the difficulty in assigning and holding multiple players responsible for activities associated with emancipation, and is meant to provide support to ease frustration for youth and their supporters.

Clarifying the Child Welfare Worker’s Role


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Clarifying the Child Welfare Worker’s Role: HEY’s Recommendations to Dispel Confusion.

The Child Welfare Worker is supposed to be the central professional managing a youth’s case. However, as a youth prepares for independence, their needs will increase as they consider their current placement and their plans for the future. With the many plans to be made, many misconceptions develop about roles and responsibilities. This document can help the youth and their supporters more clearly understand the limitations and roles of others, and provides simple recommendations to all parties on how to best serve youth. It may also be relevant to upper management as they make decisions on how to structure the emancipation processes.

Youth Speak Out!


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Youth Speak Out! What They Need for Successful Transitions from Foster Care.

During HEY’s research, it spoke with youth who had emancipated or were about to emancipate from foster care in San Francisco. They were asked them exactly what they wanted from professionals working on their case, and their answers are compiled in this report. Anyone looking for simple recommendations to improve outcomes for youth would benefit from this document.

Need for Improved Communication and Information Sharing: The TILP, GOALS Meetings and Ex Parte Hearings

The Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP) and GOALS Meetings are two redesigned and redeveloped strategies in San Francisco County. GOALS meetings especially are unique to San Francisco and various other counties are considering implementing similar strategies. HEY supports these emancipation planning meetings and increased utilization of the TILP as promising practices. Ex Parte Hearings are another strategy used, but must be carefully considered before use. The following documents describe these strategies in detail and provide recommendations for improvement.

Extending the Value of the TILP


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Extending the Value of the Transitional Independent Living Plan (TILP): HEY provides recommendations for improved use of the TILP and ideas for streamlined information sharing.

California recently redesigned the TILP to be more useful and practical for both the youth and their supporters. However, the form is still not as useful as HEY believes it could be. This article is a more technical view and is meant for those who use the TILP and make decisions about the processes used to fill out and share the information found within.

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Clarifying GOALS Meetings: HEY’s Recommendations to Dispel Confusion.

This simple one-page document is a quick reference guide for anyone involved in a GOALS meeting, or for counties considering implementing a similar practice.

GOALS Meetings in San Francisco


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GOALS Meetings in San Francisco: A Promising Practice that Still Needs Improvement.

This multi-page article describes, in detail, the current process of GOALS meetings in San Francisco, opinions from youth and their supporters who have experienced GOALS meetings, and HEY’s specific recommendations to improve practice. It is an excellent resource for those developing or improving the process of emancipation planning in any county.

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Ex Parte Dismissal Hearings: Attorneys use emergency hearings as tools to secure transitional housing for youth.

This short document is intended to define ex parte dismissal hearings and identify when they are appropriate to use as a tool. Anyone making decisions about a youth’s emancipation time would benefit from understanding the pros and cons of these hearings. Also, programs that serve youth post-emancipation would benefit from understanding how emancipations are scheduled.

Opportunities for Greater Success: Engaging Missing Partners, Returning to Birth Parents, and Adult Mental Health Services

HEY considers each person interviewed during the Emancipation Research Project as an expert in their field and experience. While speaking to each of the interviewees HEY heard many excellent suggestions for improvements that could be easily executed in working directly with youth, or applied as a protocol by those who make decisions. The following documents are more focused and more technical and meant for those who have the ability to change their own practice, as well as administrators and policy makers who define process.

Group Home Involvement in Transition Planning


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Group Home Involvement in Transition Planning:Group Homes vary in the support they offer to foster youth as they transition out of care. HEY provides best-practice recommendations to better serve foster youth.

In interviews with professionals HEY identified multiple concerns with the utilization of the TILP and duplicative work it seemed to create. This multi-page report clarifies the issues that professionals and youth identified and offers many solutions; it is meant for those making decisions on how workers use the TILP and legislators defining the legal purpose and relation to California Welfare and Institutions Code.

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Emancipated Foster Youth Returning to Birth Parents:
Regardless of the potential dangers, emancipated youth often return to their families – they still feel connected and often have no other place to go.

This document is important for youth and the caseworkers to read in order to understand the importance of including the birth family in transition plans.  Although a youth’s best option may be not be to return to their families, this report recognizes that tendency and offers solutions to best support the youth and their family once the youth has emancipated.

Connecting Youth and Adult Mental Health Services


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Connecting Youth and Adult Mental Health Services to Reduce Homelessness Among Emancipated Youth:
Youth are falling through the cracks of the disconnected mental health system – many need adult mental health services after emancipatio
n.

The child welfare system touches many other systems, and this document focuses on the need for adult mental health systems to better coordinate so foster youth do not lose services upon emancipation. This research is most important for high level administrators and legislators who have the power to decide how large systems communicate and collaborate.

Contact HEY’s Project Manager and author of the Emancipation Research Project, Dana Mandolesi at [email protected] to hear about findings, and discuss possible research collaborations.

Creative Commons License
All content in the Emancipation Research Project is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Honoring Emancipated Youth
at United Way of the Bay Area

221 Main Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94105
Office: 415-808-4284

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