The Adolescent Program is designed to ensure that current and former New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) youth obtain the preparation, resources and positive youth development they need to establish connections with caring adults and become healthy, self sufficient and successful. Adolescent Child Protective Service Workers with specialized training in adult living preparation, positive youth development and teen services, provide case consultation and resource information to agency staff working with this population.
For youth in out-of-home placement, the Adult Living Preparation Process is in place to help them plan for their futures and prepare for a successful transition to adulthood. The process starts at age 14 for youth in DCYF placement due to abuse and neglect and begins at age 15 for youth placed for CHINS or delinquency. Teens are encouraged to actively engage in the Adult Living Preparation Process. Each teen receives information about community resources, transitional and adult issues. In addition, a youth participates in several assessments (including a career assessment) and helps with the development of an Adult Living Plan and Aftercare Plan to support living as an adult after exit from state care. Each assessment and plan is updated regularly to monitor progress and ensure a teen's adult preparation needs are met.
Adult Living Preparation Plans and associated support services address such issues as permanent connections, education, job training and employment, housing and transportation, money management, health and safety needs, and behavioral and social skills including learning about community resources. A variety of skills training, resources and opportunities are available to youth participating in the Adult Living Process.
- NH Trails (NH Teen Responsibility and Independent Living Skills): A curriculum designed for foster and residential providers to teach youth in their care adult living skills in the areas of Personal and Social Growth, Education and Career Development, and Daily Living Skills.
- Skills Training: Experiential education and practice of adult living skills is provided at a teen's placement.
- NH Youth Voices Facebook page contains information about resources and opportunities for current and former youth in care.
- Higher Education: DCYF is in partnership with the New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation to conduct a series of workshops for foster care youth with college aspirations. Youth and their caregivers are connected to a NHHEAF college counselor who will guide them through the college application, admissions and financial aid process.
- Specific college information for youth in care including Federal Application for Student Assistance (FAFSA) tips, scholarship and resource information.
- Education and Training Vouchers (ETV) are available to assist eligible youth with paying for the costs of college.
- Tuition Waiver for Foster Children Program: Provides a limited number of tuition and fee waivers to NH State schools for youth formerly in out of home placement through the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families or the New Hampshire Division for Juvenile Justice Services. Participating institutions include the University of New Hampshire, Keene State College, Plymouth State University, Granite State College and the Community College System of New Hampshire. The Department of Education's Division of Higher Education coordinates the program.
Positive Youth Development
- Youth Advisory Board: NH Youth Voices
- Annual Teen Conference: Each year the Adolescent Program and NH Teen Voices host a conference for older teens in out-of-home placement. Designed to help young people connect with each other and build upon adult living skills, these conferences provide opportunities for learning, socialization and fun in a safe, respectful atmosphere.
- Youth Action Pool: A subcommittee of the Youth Advisory Board. The Youth Action Pool is made up of current and former youth in care that are committed to enhancing youth and family voice, improving practice and influencing policy related to permanency outcomes. This is done by the youth taking action through various roles including:
- Panelists as subject matter experts
- Presenters, trainers, facilitators
- Consultants with staff and
- Facilitate meetings with other youth
Moderate levels of funding are available to help eligible youth achieve their adult living plan goals, assisting with purchases such as driver education, vocational training, career exploration, educational activities, work clothes, items to set up housekeeping and other needs that may be identified.
- Eligible young adults, ages 18-21 are provided with continued case management, support and financial assistance to meet their basic needs and support their pursuit of education, employment, housing and well being goals.
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