The Annie E. Casey Foundation is an amazing nonprofit that is focused on creating research-backed resources to aid those who work with children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes. One of their major projects is the Kids Count Data Center, which is a great tool to use if you need national or state-level data to support grant applications or other projects. (We use it at BGCA all the time.)
Through one of their efforts, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, they recently released a new report called The Road to Adulthood aimed at those who work with youth in foster care, whether as afterschool providers or teachers or case workers, and it is phenomenal. While it gives specific practices for working with youth in foster care, much of it is applicable to any youth who has dealt with trauma. I particularly find the section on the latest research in adolescent brain development SO VALUABLE. I recommend printing this out and reading it through as part of your professional development.
In addition to the report, the Casey Foundation has created five printable handouts called Brain Frames that dive deeper into the report’s recommendations, with quick bullet points, fact boxes, and sample conversations. The topics include:
- Cultivate permanent families for young people. (Brain Frame: Keeping the Family Conversation Alive)
- Help young people understand their experiences, especially through the lenses of racism and trauma, and develop effective strategies for healing and growth. (Brain Frame: Healing Comes First)
- Promote college and career pathways. (Brain Frame: Successful Connections to School and Work)
- Ensure adequate and safe housing for youth while also encouraging their personal choices. (Brain Frame: Promoting Safe and Stable Housing for Young People)
- Support young parents’ progress toward self-sufficiency and healthy lifestyles and relationships. (Brain Frame: Supporting Young Parents)
Boys & Girls Clubs have a tremendous opportunity to be a positive force in the lives of youth in foster care, and these resources are a great addition to our youth development knowledge.