The EASE-IN (Emancipating Adolescents Supportively Through Early Interdependent Networking) Program is a specialized joint project of DCFS and UCLA designed to prepare MSW graduate interns in child welfare practice, leadership and program management skills. Each intern receives a one-year stipend of $18,500. EASE-IN serves foster youth, ages 13-15, living in SPA 6 (South Los Angeles). A DCFS field instructor dedicated to the unit, an LCSW university field faculty member and a full-time UCLA administrative assistant provides students with comprehensive supervision and staff support.
The program's mission is to "enhance the quality of life of Pre-Independent Living Program (ILP) Youth and their foster families" with an emphasis on facilitating both permanence in the youth's lives and preparation for emancipation. EASE-IN began in 1994 and is the only project of its kind in the nation. EASE-IN has served over 300 Los Angeles County foster youth over the past decade. Approximately 30 youth and their caregivers participate in the program annually, receiving intensive case management and group counseling services to help better prepare them for independent living after leaving care. In alignment with DCFS outcome goals, the eight UCLA MSW interns are trained to enter into homes, engage families and systems, work with collateral contacts, and utilize strengths-based interventions.
EASE-IN gained national recognition by receiving an achievement award certificate from the National Association of Counties. The award was presented to LA County for the EASE- IN Program in 1996 in recognition of its distinguished and innovative contribution to improving and promoting county government in the United States.
For more information, contact Michelle Talley, UCLA Field Faculty, 310-206-2697 or Jacqueline Jones, DCFS Field Instructor, 310-348-6924.