The establishment of a tiered foster care model has been proposed to meet the needs of youth. Ohio foster care youth and alumni believe this approach will only succeed with the following strategies:
1.) Transforming the ICCA: An Individual Child Care Agreement (ICCA) is required to be completed by a caseworker anytime a child or teen enters a new substitute care setting, in order to communicate needs to the new caregiver. Youth have repeatedly expressed concerns that the ICCA form is not strengths-based and can be an impediment to finding a placement
On Monday, May 16, 2022, OHIO YAB youth ambassadors presented during the Ohio Citizen’s Review Panel’s annual strategic planning meeting, and described challenges and opportunities related to the ICCA form.
2.) Revising CANS: The OhioRISE program uses the Ohio Children’s Initiative Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) tool to establish eligibility for Medicaid billable services. While this might be helpful from a billing stance, it does not make for a strength-based method of capturing the development of coping skills.
When youth reviewed the CANS assessment, for the purpose of determining its helpfulness as a tool to assist with Tiered Foster Care, they noticed similar challenges and opportunities to those of the ICCA form.
Similarly, the latest draft of Tiered Foster Care Characteristics is focused on external behavior, rather than the needs of the child. Ohio youth leaders mapped out challenges and opportunities related to this document. Details that would be helpful to support the success of placements are: (a.) context, (b.) triggers, (c.) coping strategies.
3.) Youth-Approved Training Badges: It is important to note that the OHIO YAB has been working with the OCWTP to identify the essential elements of interdependence, and essential resources for each category. The youth have designed badges to reflect foster parent development of expertise, vetted trainings to determine their eligibility for one or more badges, and created a menu of life skills activities for caregivers to share with youth.
The OHIO YAB could take a similar approach in order to assist in developing a strengths-based, skills-focused training pathway in order to build a team of Subject Matter Experts among the foster parent pool.
4.) Foster Parent Subject Experts: Ohio foster care youth and alumni propose that:
– Rather than identifying a foster parent as “Level 3,” and sending youth with the highest level of needs indiscriminately to their home, which might lead to negative outcomes…
– A more effective approach would be to identify and build Subject Matter Experts among foster parents. This would include (a.) youth-approved training, (b.) mentorship, (c.) peer support.
Training badges could reflect foster parent comfort and expertise with supporting, empowering and preparing specific youth populations, such as foster youth who are teen parents.
The array of youth-vetted trainings could include the following: