Introducing Self-Advocacy Skills to Transition Age Youth.
Martinez, Monique Y.
Public Policy Report
Published: August 2016
University of San Francisco (USF) Scholarship Repository
Gleeson Library | Geschke Center
San Francisco, CA Tel: (415) 422-5674
This report shares findings of a study that investigated the promotion of self-determination among transition-aged youth (TAY). The study assessed staff and client attitudes about the services provided by the Bill Wilson Center (BWC) in Santa Clara, California, and analyzed project data to inform new advocacy training programs at the Drop-In Center (DIC) to provide TAY with skills needed to become self-advocates. The paper begins with information on the challenges faced by TAY, evidence-based practices for TAY, barriers to accessing transition skills and support, and current self-advocacy practices. A profile is then provided of BWC and current services provided, and the methodology of the study is explained. Key informant interviews were conducted between March 2016 to April 2016 with the DIC staff, the DIC volunteer physician, and an expert social worker. A focus group was conducted on May 3, 2016, with five clients aged 19 to 24 years. The participants were all homeless and had adverse child experiences, aged out of foster care, have a history of mental health (MH) issues, use or abuse substances, use government services, were engaged in the BWC transitional service program, and/or used the services available at the DIC. Findings from the key-informant interviews demonstrated the participants’ knowledge about the TAY community and the population served at the Drop-In Center (DIC). The focus group responses showed clients’ lack of knowledge and existing misconceptions of the meaning of effective communication. Recommendations are discussed and included the development of a guidebook that contains self-advocacy training content that is relevant and provides examples, specifically with regards to the social services TAY are eligible to receive. Numerous references.
foster adolescents; independent living skills; homeless adolescents; aging out; child advocacy; youth engagement; training; social services; eligibility; utilization