Individual counseling and case management
Youth, their caregivers, and families receive weekly intern home visits, school visits, and family sessions. During a visit, an intern provides assessments (joint development of a transitional living plan with the youth), educational services (assistance in planning education, college or vocational training), and individual and family counseling. Interns integrate clinical case management, bio-psychosocial assessment, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, and crisis intervention modalities. Case treatment plans are developed collaboratively with the youth, intern and Children's Social Worker, and the foster care provider. The program offers supplemental assistance to the youth, including tutoring, involvement in skill-building workshops, and outings that expose youth to future options.
Youth group curriculum
EASE-IN Youth Group meets weekly during the school year. Meetings are held Monday evenings at a local church building in the community. The curriculum integrates a variety of sources, including the Casey organization's Life Skills Guidebook and creativity of the interns. Click for themes
Monthly joint group and community speakers
Supervised peer interaction with foster youth in similar situations takes place at weekly groups, monthly guest speakers, and group outings. Former foster youth speak to the youth about challenges and successes in emancipation, a career panel discussion includes representatives from different occupations, and speakers from independent living resource networks are invited.
The EASE-IN Mentoring Program promotes support and stability to pre-independent living program youth by providing adult role models to guide and encourage the adolescent foster youth. Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship over time during which an adult fosters the development of character and competence in a young person. The emphasis is placed on experiences between two people and the development of the relationship over time. Mentors help youth focus on his/her thoughts, feelings and dreams over the course of a minimum of a year. This develops the adolescent's sense of importance, self-esteem and competence. EASE-IN is part of a larger consortium facilitated by a mentoring partnership for city youth. The EASE-IN mentoring program conducts recruitment,training, mentor-mentee matches, and on-going monitoring and support of matches.
The EASE-IN newsletter, Teen Flava, gives foster youth an opportunity to express themselves creatively in a safe and supportive environment. Youth participate in group activities that encourage self-expression around topics. Specific topics are chosen which influence their lives as adolescents and foster youth. The youth take on leadership roles through designing the layout of the newsletter, acting as peer educators in the Dr. EASE advice column, soliciting contributions from the other EASE-IN groups, and writing editorials about the EASE-IN program. As a result, they build confidence in operating laptop computers, and advance their expressive artistic and writing skills.
Caregivers participate in weekly individual sessions with the youth and interns. They are invited to monthly joint group forums and have engaged in caregiver support groups, family night orientation, caregiver appreciation picnics and outings, and youth graduation. Caregiver participation often strengthens placement stability.