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Our Programs

Features of an Effective Program

The characteristics of an effective program are:

1. A focus on commitment
Youth in care have often lived in a variety of settings. Too often, they have moved through various group care programs. It can be difficult to "hang in" with youth who challenge our strengths, but it is exactly what needs to be done. When we "hang in" the opportunity for healthy attachments, improved self esteem, and the opportunity to learn new ways of being, is created.

2. A focus on self in relationship
Relationship in youth care work is not about being friends or feeling good about one another. Relationships are the experiences where new self-understanding can evolve; a place where a young person can experience themselves differently, in relation to significant others.

3. A focus on caring
In youth care, caring means "doing" with people in a manner that confirms their worth and value as humans. It is about appreciation and respect. It is manifested in what we do and how we do it.

4. A focus on family
Too often youth in residential care are isolated from their family psychologically, emotionally and/or physically. This can be intensified by program rules and practices which may separate them further. Family involvement in the day to day life of a program, in daily decision making, and in treatment is essential to overcoming this sense of isolation.

5. A focus on individuality
Each young person in care is unique, special, and individual. When programs treat everyone the same, no one is special. Individualized programs, differential treatment, and unique responses help youth to realize that they are different from others, in a special sort of way.

6. A focus on success
A program that is strength or success focused is distinctly different, in practice and experience, than the one that is problem focused.


7. A focus on support
Young people need to experience adults as a source of support so they may learn new ways, give up unhealthy patterns, and try new experiences. It is this focus on support, actualized in practice, which allows youth to take risks in spite of natural fear.


8. A focus on helping through involvement in daily life events
When we focus on helping, through our involvement in their daily life events, we focus on helping people where they live and experience their lives. When they experience success, they experience success in living.


9. A focus on context
Nothing occurs in isolation, yet frequently, interventions appear to ignore context. When we consider context, we are able to design specific interventions for an individual at this moment, at this place. Such interventions are more likely to be helpful and effective.


10. A focus on meaning-making
We all try to make sense out of what we experience. It is our way of organizing our experience so that we understand it. When we focus on "meaning making", we focus on what things mean to the other, as well as to ourselves.


11. A focus on "response-able" interventions
We understand that youth must have the ability before we expect them to achieve. Our responsibility is to create "response-able" behaviors. Young people need to achieve for themselves, not for the approval of others. Adults must remember to respect their pace when learning.


12. Focus on Safety
The physical and emotional safety is imperative for a positive residential experience. It includes recognizing, and responding therapeutically to the needs of race, sexual orientation and identities, religion, regional uniqueness, and unique family systems. Making fun or joking without understanding the background of an individual is unprofessional, and in some cases, abusive.


13. Focus on Environment
The overall theme reflected in a program is impacted by everything from the facility’s cleanliness, to the mannerisms, professional approach, accountability, and social skills of the employees. The environment is created by the way people are greeted, and made to feel welcome no matter who they are, a young person, a family member, a guest, a neighbor or community member.

““My favorite part of programming is that we go out

and have fun.”

- HomeBridge Youth

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