Youth Connections (Frederick County FY18 and beyond - Annual)

Program Summary

FY21

This program through Family Partnership of Frederick County will identify, outreach and recruit disconnected youth between the ages of 16 to 24, who are neither enrolled or attending school and unemployed. Case management staff will create individualized goal plans with youth. All youth will be directly engaged with education and/or employment activities including community based internships.

FY20

This program through Family Partnership of Frederick County will identify, outreach and recruit disconnected youth or at risk of disconnection between the ages of 16 to 24. Case management staff will create individualized goal plans with youth. All youth will be directly engaged with education and/or employment activities including community based internships.

 

FY19

This program through Family Partnership of Frederick County will identify, outreach and recruit disconnected youth between the ages of 16 to 24, who are neither in school nor employed. Case management staff will create individualized goal plans with youth. All youth will be directly engaged with education and/or employment activities including community based internships.

Target Population

FY21

Disconnected youth and youth at risk of becoming disconnected residing in Frederick County. Youth outreach is conducted through community events, self-referral, direct service agency referrals from partner agencies such as Workforce Services, Dept. of Juvenile Services, Frederick County Public School system, and mental health agencies. Referrals are accepted from any agency in Frederick County.

FY20

Disconnected youth and youth at risk of becoming disconnected residing in Frederick County. Youth outreach is conducted through community events, self-referral, direct service agency referrals from partner agencies such as Workforce Services, Dept. of Juvenile Services, Frederick County Public School system, and mental health agencies. Referrals are accepted from any agency in Frederick County.

 

FY19

Disconnected youth

Measures
Time
Period
Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
Current
Trend
Baseline
% Change
PM
FY 2021
55
3
67%
Story Behind the Curve

FY21

The focus of many Youth shifted from education and internships to staying housed and managing other needs that arose. The second half year of dealing with the stressors imposed by COVID-19 continued to be challenging for the Youth and staff. Some of the challenges included:

  • The requirement that services be virtual made it challenging to serve Youth. Youth Connections case managers and education staff experienced difficulty in determining how to most effectively deliver virtual services and the process involved trial-and-error. Youth also experienced difficulty in using Zoom and it was challenging for staff to assist them in navigating the challenges without being in-person.
  • Youth often lacked consistent and/or healthy support systems.
  • Youth often experienced financial hardship and lack of access to basic needs such as housing. Therefore, Youth often prioritized employment over engagement with Youth Connections services.
  • Youth experienced barriers to obtaining employment, such as lack of transportation and histories of criminal charges.
  • Youth who lacked transportation experienced barriers in GED testing, as they had difficulty in getting to GED exam sites or to the MVA to obtain Maryland ID as prerequisite for GED testing. Youth Connections was limited in its ability to offer Youth transportation during the pandemic.

FY20

The scorecard data shows that the program consistently trended in the right direction compared to the same time last year. The Youth Connections program transitioned from in-person services to virtual services due to COVID-19; staff utilized a variety of virtual platforms to support participants with accessing services.

 

FY19

Challenges with youth obtaining a job or internship include:

  • 33% of the students were opened too late (May or June) in the FY for employment outcomes to be realized, transitioned to WIOA and/or ended program participation
  • 11% of the students
    • demonstrated difficulty with time management related to seeking employment
    • did not have the minimum level of education or soft skills necessary for desired employment and/or
    • had mental/behavior/substance use disorders or had other challenges that barred them from working to connect with formal employment
  • One (2%) returning student maintained employment that was counted as a positive outcome in FY18

FY18

  • FP has a long history providing youth services and extensive community collaborations. YC was able to begin on July 1, 2017, using existing staff until new staff were hired. 
  • The program provided presentations to community groups, such as FCPS, DJS, LMB, Lead 4 Life, MHA, DSS, and LCT. Family Partnership has also produced a video that highlighted our Youth Services for recruitment.
  • FP has a strong partnership with FCC who provides our Adult Ed. services.
  • FP has a seasoned employment instructor who has many years of experience working with the youth population and connecting them to employment and/or internships. He also works closely with the youth team to ensure the youth have the support and soft skills needed to be successful in employment and/or internship.
  • All FP staff have received basic training on Adverse Childhood Experiences. Several staff have attended additional training focused on ACE and how trauma effects the brain. FP completed an agency self-assessment process to evaluate where we are with providing trauma informed care within our program. In FY19, staff will begin analyzing the results and strategizing how to improve our program and services. Participants have information about what ACEs are, how these experiences can affect them, and how to develop stress management and coping skills during workshops provided at FP.
Partners

FY21

Community Partners and their roles:

  • Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) was a referral source for Youth, particularly the Home Instruction office. FCPS staff readily provided documentation for participants referred to allow Youth Connections (YC) to effectively serve Youth referred, including Maryland DLLR forms, IEP’s and 504 plans.
  • Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) was a referral source for Youth. DJS case managers supported Youth Connections staff in helping Youth to meet program expectations and make progress toward achievement of their goals.
  • Trauma Specialists of Maryland, contracted with Youth Connections to provide therapy services to participants, including Youth. The therapy services offered support to participants experiencing crisis or who were otherwise in need of mental health service and not able to receive a timely intake appointment with other mental health providers.
  • WIOA/Frederick County Workforce Services (WFS) – Youth initially served by Youth Connections and later enrolled in WIOA were able to obtain paid work experience with various worksites, including an internship with the Delaplaine Arts Center. The worksites helped Youth gain needed job skills, experience for their resumes and sometimes job opportunities. WIOA funds were also used to register Youth for driver’s education. WIOA funding was provided and monitored by WFS.
  • Maryland Family Network provided funding that allowed Youth Connections to provide Youth services including adult education and employability as well as parenting and child development services to Youth parents.
  • Faith House provided transitional housing and case management services to female Youth participants who were homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

FY20

  • FCC – Frederick County’s Adult Education vendor -provides ESL and GED instructors at FP.  Youth also have access to FCC’s Adult Services and the training and trade programs at the Monroe Center. 
  • Workforce Services – provides funding for education and employment services, as well as supportive services, training, and paid internships.  They refer potential youth who need additional support through education or case management.  YC refers youth, young adults, and their parents/family members to Workforce Services for their youth and adult employment services.
  • Maryland Family Network – provides FP with funding for their family support center program.  This funding allows the program to provide 2 generational services to parents (including adolescent parents) and their young children.  These services include: adult education, employment, parent education, child development care for children under 4, service coordination, health education, leadership skill development, and transportation. 
  • FCPS – provides referrals, access to Virtual School for parenting youth and collaborates with YC case managers when needed for individual students.
  • DSS – works with foster care youth and families with youth/young adults.  DSS workers frequently refer youth and young adults to the program. 
  • DJS – provides referrals to the program and support to youth receiving services at both DJS and YC.
  • Housing Authority – refers youth from their housing communities who are not in school or need employment. 
  • Business community – Businesses provide mentoring to youth who have little to no work experiences. 
  • Mental Health providers such as – Mental Health Association, Lead 4 Life, Frederick County Mental Health Services, Behavioral Health Partners, Advanced Counseling, Excel Youth, and Advanced Behavioral Counseling. FP provides referrals to these organizations for mental health counseling or psychiatric rehabilitation programs but they also refer to FP.
  • YC also has collaborations with other community agencies such as SHIP, COIPP, Advocates for Homeless Families, Faith House, Infants and Toddlers, Healthy Families, Frederick County Health Dept., Community Action Agency, and Judy Center, Frederick Health Care Transitions and Way Station’s Health Transitions Initiative program.  FP staff makes referrals to these agencies and they make referrals to FP as well. 

FY19

  • FCC – Frederick County’s Adult Education vendor -provides ESL and GED instructors as well as a Family Literacy Coordinator at FP.  Youth also have access to FCC’s Adult Services and the training and trade programs at the Monroe Center.  
  • Workforce Services – provides funding for education and employment services, as well as supportive services, training, and paid internships.  They refer potential youth to us who need additional support through education or case management.  YC refers youth, young adults, and their parents/family members to Workforce Services for their youth and adult employment services. 
  • Maryland Family Network – provides FP with funding for our family support center program.  This funding allows us to provide 2 generational services to parents (including adolescent parents) and their young children.  These services include: adult education, employment, parent education, child development care for children under 4, service coordination, health education, leadership skill development, and transportation.  
  • FCPS – provides referrals, access to Virtual School for parenting youth and collaborates with YC case managers when needed for individual students. 
  • DSS – works with foster care youth and families with youth/young adults.  DSS workers frequently refer youth and young adults to the program.  
  • DJS – provides referrals to the program and support to youth receiving services at both DJS and YC. 
  • Housing Authority – refers youth from their housing communities who are not in school or need employment.  The Housing Authority staff brings the youth for a tour of the program and stays in touch with the case managers to ensure the youth follow through.
  • Business community – Businesses provide mentoring to youth who have little to no work experiences.  
  • Mental Health providers such as – Mental Health Association, Lead 4 Life, Frederick County Mental Health Services, Behavioral Health Partners, Advanced Counseling, Excel Youth, and Advanced Behavioral Counseling.   FP provides referrals to these organizations for mental health counseling or psychiatric rehabilitation programs but they also refer to FP.
  • YC also has collaborations with other community agencies such as SHIP, COIPP, Advocates for Homeless Families, Faith House, Infants and Toddlers, Healthy Families, Frederick County Health Dept., Community Action Agency, and Judy Center.  FP staff makes referrals to these agencies and they make referrals to FP as well.  
What Works

FY21

  • Community partnerships, collaboration and maintaining relationships continued to be a key in the provision of services as outlined in the “Partners” dialogue.
  • Youth Connections incorporated a variety of service platforms that included:
  • Phone calls, email, texting, Zoom and drop by visits to homes to deliver GED and other materials were effective in sustaining relationships with program participants and keeping them engaged.
  • Conducting drop by visits to the youth’s place of employment provided support to the youth and maintained the relationship with employers.
  • Contracting with Trauma Specialists of Maryland, to provide therapy services to participants offered support to those experiencing a crisis or in need of mental health services.
  • Youth Connections collaborated with Faith House to provide transitional housing and case management services to female Youth participants who were homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

FY20

  • GED Instructors maintained class assignments utilizing Microsoft Classroom, etc.
  • Youth Connections maintained the same youth team staff, which ensured consistency for the youth and the program.
  • Parenting youth participants were provided with child development, parent education resources and support, in addition to weekly Parent and Children Together Activities (PACT).
  • Youth Connections maintained collaborations with other community agencies as mentioned above. 
  • Program staff maintained a “Trauma Informed Approach” and focused on the question of “What happened to you” vs “What’s wrong with you.”
  • Youth Connections participant recruitment is an ongoing focus, staff provided presentations to community groups, such as FCPS, DJS, MHA, DSS, local therapists, Faith House, Heartly House’s Youth Outreach Program, Family Literacy Council, Housing Authority, Youthful Offender Program, Workforce Services, CareNet, NAACP, Frederick County Health Dept. programs, and Adult Probation officers. Program tours were provided to a number of the community partners mentioned above, prior the onset of COVID19.

FY19

  • All of the Youth Connections participants served were assigned a case manager who supported their personal educational and other goals and connected them to appropriate resources
  • Youth Connections served 45 Youth served for FY19 compared to the 30 served in FY18
  • 44 Youth were connected to Community Resources
  • 44 Youth (98%) had an education goal and/or attended educational classes weekly

FY18

  • The youth enters an internship or becomes employed.
  • The youth makes education gains (increases CASAS scores, passes a GED READY section, passes a section of the GED test, education gain on GED Academy, earns diploma/GED).
  • The youth enters post-secondary classes or training.
Action Plan

FY21

No action is needed.

 

FY20

Youth Connections will continue outreach efforts for recruitment of new participants through virtual platforms.

 

FY19

  • YC will review the dual enrollment process in Fy20 to determine if all students should be placed on both education and employment tracks or if some youth should be solely focused on education with soft skills training prior to being placed on the formal employment track.
  • YC will implement individualized 1 on 1 jobs and career information as a supplement to the current jobs and career group workshops.
  • YC will implement more individualized 1 on 1 time management/life management sessions with youth to assist with education/employment/home life balance.

FY18

Program staff plan to:

  • Maintaining youth engagement and fostering positive relationships between youth and their case managers and other staff.
  • Ensure FP staff provides information about YC to agencies who potentially serve disconnected youth and communities where these disconnected youth may live or hang out.
  • Ensure that staff uses the trauma informed approach with all youth.
  • Youth receive intensive key soft skill training.
  • Staff assists youth with removing barriers such as (reliable transportation, child care, MD ID or other documentation, work clothes/shoes, money to take the GED test, necessary training. 
  • Staff provides constant motivation, encouragement, support, confidence building, mentoring, and opportunities so the youth can see possibilities and the career paths they can take.
  • Staff assists youth to set achievable/short term goals and holding them accountable to the goals and also celebrating their successes.
  • Provide youth with flexible paths to work on their GED – flexible schedule, safe space, computer assisted learning, one on one tutoring, take home packets, access to online learning on and offsite, etc.
  • Provide youth with opportunities and guidance to complete career assessments, resumes, job applications, mock interviews, etc.  
  • Ensure youth are aware of community resources.
  • Adjust measures to include all “after high school” education/employment/training opportunities that youth engage in. 
Local Highlight

FY21

  • 55 Youth were served by Youth Connections (YC), exceeding the goal of 40. 39 Youth made educational progress, including 9 Youth who earned their GED and 6 Youth that made measurable progress toward entering postsecondary education or further career training following completion of high school diploma/GED.
  • 43 Youth completed the Employment Readiness Milestone that included:  engagement in employment services, 19 Youth completed employment career assessments, resumes, mock job applications and mock job interviews). 17 Youth fulfilled performance measure of obtaining employment.
  • 13 Youth maintained employment with the same employer from FY20 – 4th quarter through the 1st quarter of FY21. 53 Youth made a connection to a community resource.
  • Youth Connections adapted Youth services to include a long-term virtual setting.
  • YC was able to offer Youth greater flexibility and individuality in services through virtual platforms.
  • Youth made measurable progress toward earning GED or earned GED
  • Youth obtained and maintained employment
  • Five Youth were able to enter WIOA program and receive education and employability services unique to WIOA grant.
  • YC was able to purchase Maryland ID’s and GED exams for Youth.

FY20

  • Youth Connections served 50 youth during FY20 and exceeded the annual target numbers served by 25%
  • The number of participants who obtained a job or an internship increased by 23% compared to the same time last year
  • COVID19 required a shift in service delivery utilizing a variety of methods that included; GED packets mailed to the home and access to live virtual ESL and GED classes, etc.
  • The Employment Instructor continued Employment and Job Readiness services remotely
  • Four youth earned GED/Diplomas
  • At the end of the second half of FY20, 13 youth obtained and/or maintained employment.
Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy