Project Uplift was operated by two county agencies of the Colorado Department of Human Services and was funded by an Adoption Opportunities Grant. (See Understanding Permanency Lessons in Future Teamwork: Final Report/Colorado Department of Human Services.) The program sought to connect adolescents with caring adults to create supportive, permanent relationships. Many of the youth served had multiple barriers to permanency, including criminal charges and developmental and mental health disorders.
Strategies. Dedicated Adolescent Connections Workers engaged the youth to identify important people from their past, and the workers sought out and supported these adults in becoming permanent connections for the youth.
Outcomes. Of the 56 youth referred to the project, 47 have connected with at least one supportive adult. Of these, two youth have been reunified with their birth parents, and 12 are in the process of being adopted.
Lessons Learned. Involving youth is key to achieving permanent, supportive relationships for them. Overcoming biases of child welfare and residential staff against contact with biological families is a significant endeavor; open communication and relationship-building were reported to be key strategies to accomplishing this.
More Information on Model Programs for Youth Permanency
Read more about this and other model programs for youth permanency in Model Programs for Youth Permanency (PDF - 236 KB) by M.J. Louisell, from the California Partnership for Youth Project.