Children, Youth and Families

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Children Youth and Family Community of Practice

With more than 100 LSA members serving children, youth and families in 43 states across the country, the LSA network has a dominant national child welfare presence.  LSA members provide a broad range of services ranging from foster care and adoption to counseling, housing, health care, mental health care, early childhood education, charter schools, alternatives to detention, Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) foster care programs, and programs for youth aging out of foster care. The Children Youth and Family (CYF) Community of Practice comes together to learn from and with each other to transform the well-being of vulnerable youth and their families by continuing to improve current care practices, develop new and innovative solutions, and encourage practitioner-informed policy decisions.  

Lutheran Services in America (LSA) expanded its partnership with the Provider Exchange® at its annual conference in Minneapolis. The Provider Exchange® expands the work begun in 2015 to provide technical assistance to 12 LSA members by adding seven LSA members to a new cohort to identify and implement best practices for youth at risk of aging out of the child welfare system to achieve permanency, either with a permanent family (through reunification, adoption or guardianship) or through a lifelong connection to a committed, caring adult.   The newest cohort includes members who provide traditional and therapeutic foster care, short-term residential services, independent living as well as transitional services for older youth have committed to a year-long learning journey. They will work with the Provider Exchange® — a network of exemplary child welfare providers who have negotiated complex change in their own organizations and communities, to improve the lives of children youth and families. 

Series: Pursuing Permanency

As part of this project, Natalie Goodnow from the Kennedy School at Harvard will share effective ways organizations can promote family placements for the older youth they serve. To learn more about the Pursing Permanency series, which looks at ways to achieve permanency for youth transitioning from foster care into adulthood, please check out Post #1. Please check back here for more summaries and updates as they are published.

Post #1: Enhancing Permanency for Youth In Out-of-Home Care. This post explores innovative permanency strategies and the challenges of physical and relational permanency for older youth.

Post #2: Engaging Youth. How large of a role should youth in foster care have in their permanency planning? Are adolescents ready for these big decisions? Can they be an asset in this process? These are some of the questions the CYF learning cohort is asking as they explore how to incorporate youth’s voices in their permanency plans. As it turns out, engaging youth in placement planning could actually help prepare them for adulthood. This post examines two resources on engaging youth in transition planning.  

Post #3:  The Valuable Role of Fathers.    Where do fathers and their families fit into a foster youth's permanency plan?  Too often fathers and their families are overlooked when it comes to exploring family connections.  This post looks at the benefits of a father's involvement in his child's life, and how to better engage a child's paternal family.

Post #4:  Preparing Youth for Permanency.   What challenges might arise when trying to help youth achieve permanency, and how can they be overcome? This post looks at how to prepare youth for permanency, whether that means helping them consider the benefits of options other than independent living, unpacking their hesitation about adoption or guardianship, or working to resolve trauma that might create challenges in achieving permanency. 

The Provider Exchange® is supported in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

News Stories 


 The following CYF resources are available to LSA members only. Please contact Alesia Frerichs at 202-499-5823 for more information.  

Provider Exchange

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Center for the Study of Social Policy

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