In October of 2012, Brevard Family Partnership began the development of a system transformation project which entailed establishing a framework for the incorporation of trauma informed care (TIC) across the community of practice. The goal of this transformation initiative is to develop and foster broad community awareness and knowledge regarding the impact of trauma on children and families; and upon those who serve and care for them.
The framework of this initiative holds that positive youth development is the outcome of a trauma informed community of practice. Therefore to improve the quality of life for youth in, and aging out of foster care, the local child welfare system of care and its partners need to develop an understanding of the empirical evidence supporting TIC and the proven strategies to mitigate risk and prevent re-traumatization.
BFP is committed to becoming a TIC system. To that end it is our goal to design and provide education, training and technical assistance to agencies that serve children, youth and families who have experienced trauma. Over the past three years, we worked to design and launch training opportunities and foster awareness to build better understanding, application and integration of trauma informed care and positive youth development practices.
Brevard Youth Leadership Academy
The Brevard Youth Leadership Academy was officially launched in October 2017. This exciting and innovative leadership program prepares a core group of youth with leadership capacity to learn the key skills needed to be effective self-advocates as well as advocates for systems change. Graduates of the Academy will become the new members of the Brevard Youth Leadership Council. The Leadership Academy will help the Council be an effective vehicle for youth “voice and choice” impacting change in foster care policy and practice.
The program is implemented by the local charitable organization SMILE for Budgie (SMILE) in coordination and support from Brevard Family Partnership. SMILE provides educational and psycho-social assistance to vulnerable and at-risk youth. All youth deserve the right to have access to resources and educational opportunities to build and strengthen their skills to reach their full potential. Leadership training not only contributes to the healthy development and well-being, but also provides practical life skills necessary to function and thrive as an independent adult.
The Academy is a six-month training program that builds skills in the following areas: leadership, communication, team building, problem-solving, decision making, conflict resolution, and organizational development. The Academy utilizes experiential learning methodologies including: adventure/recreational, nature-focused/animal-assisted and creative expression/expressive arts.
The Training Academy is also implemented with technical support from the Center for the Study of Social Policy helping youth to understand and enhance the following Youth Thrive Promotive and Protective Factors: youth resilience, social connections, knowledge of adolescent development, concrete support in times of need, and cognitive and social-emotional competence.
Phases of Development a Trauma-Informed and Positive Youth Driven System of Care
Phase I: Year 1: 2013
- Establish a cross-system committee of champions to lead, guide, and direct the initiative
- Conduct a community scan and assessment
- Engage key community leaders
- Secure technical assistance and consultation from national leadership and successful former foster youth
- Identify youth and young adults to serve on a Youth Advisory Board
- Devise a mission, vision and brand to market the transformation to identified stakeholders and audiences.
- Convene community-wide summits to introduce the framework and conduct an assessment of need and recommendations. These will feature two large kick-off conversations: the first with youth who are in or who have aged out of foster care and the second with key community leaders and stakeholders. The Keynote speakers and facilitators are successful young adults who have experienced trauma and were in the foster care system as children and/or youth.
Phase II: Year 2: 2014
- Establish and execute an awareness campaign
- Youth Advisory Council members discuss ideas and find solutions to real challenges they face.
- Design and launch a web portal to serve as an information clearinghouse
- Facilitate “knowledge exchange” opportunities
- Identify and develop curriculum
- Launch introductory training sessions across identified sectors
Phase III: Year 3: 2015
- Provide annual training opportunities to provide continuous professional development opportunities
- Increase public engagement through multiple media platforms
- It is the mission of BFP through its TIC/PYD initiative to:
- Transform the local System of Care into a trauma informed community of practice
- To achieve positive youth development as an outcome of being trauma informed in our approach to care
- To lessen the impact of trauma upon children and youth entering the BFP System of Care
- To promote resilience, sustainability and the health and well-being of children and youth entrusted to our care
- To impart hope and instill motivation for successful living and the achievement of life dreams
- To establish critical, meaningful and positive lasting connections for youth aging out of foster care
Phase IV: Year 4: 2016
- Reduce the trauma of investigations, removal, and the placement of children in out of home care
- Embed the Protective and Promotive Factors and the guiding premises into the Brevard System of Care.
- Identify, develop and define strategies to address policy, practice and training that will result in a trauma responsive System of Care.
- Provide resources, tools and techniques for professionals working with children and families to ensure they are trauma responsive.
- Develop and implement a Youth Leadership Academy program with the purpose of preparing and equipping youth with the necessary competencies to serve as emerging leaders.
- Identify partner to provide support in order to achieve the goal of implementing a youth leadership program.
- Seek out eight to ten young people to participate in yearlong youth leadership program.
- Review program candidates and select inaugural Youth Leadership Academy participants.
- Identify supporting adults to contribute to youth leadership program; determine roles and responsibilities.
- Develop Youth Leadership Academy training program schedule
Phase V: Year 5: 2017
• Develop and implement a Youth Leadership Academy program with the purpose of preparing and equipping youth with the necessary competencies to serve
as emerging leaders.
• Identify partner to provide support in order to achieve the goal of implementing a youth leadership program.
• Seek out eight to ten young people to participate in yearlong youth leadership program.
• Review program candidates and select inaugural Youth Leadership Academy participants.
• Identify supporting adults to contribute to youth leadership program; determine roles and responsibilities.
• Develop Youth Leadership Academy training program schedule
Phase VI: Year 6: 2018
- Youth Leadership Academy graduates will serve as founding members of the Youth Leadership Council.
- Identify program representatives to serve as representatives on the state-wide Youth Council
- Continuation of annualized Brevard Youth Leadership Academy through selection of 2018 class.
- Facilitate the 5th annual Trauma Informed Care Summit including active participation of Youth Leadership Academy youth.
- Principles of Trauma Informed Care and Positive Youth Development Booklet
- “Children and Youth In Care Want You to Know” Rack Card
- Youth Advisory Council Interest Form
- BYT Result 1: Youth will feel supported, valued, nurtured, and protected
- BYT Result 2: Youth who age out of care will be prepared for independence
- Brevard Youth Thrive History and Overview Power Point
- Youth Thrive Brochure
Brevard Youth Thrive works in partnership with the Center for the Study of Social Policy as a pilot site of this program.