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Core Principles

Youth Development
Permanent Connections
Cultural Competency

Youth Development Definitions
Youth Development is the natural process of growing up and developing one’s capabilities. Positive youth development occurs from an intentional process that promotes positive outcomes for youth by providing support, relationships, and opportunities. Youth development takes place in families, peer groups, schools, in neighborhoods and communities, and prepares youth to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood through coordinated, progressive research-based experiences that help them to become socially, morally, emotionally, physically, and intellectually competent. (The National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century: Final Report)

Quality Services: Services in such areas as education, health, employment and child welfare which exhibit:

  • relevant instruction and information
  • challenging opportunities to express oneself, to take on new roles, and be part of a group
  • Supportive adults and peers who provide respect, high standards and expectations, guidance and affirmation to young people.
  Opportunities - chances for young people to learn how to act on the world around them. They are given opportunities to test out ideas and behaviors and experiment with different roles. The roles must be perceived as challenging and legitimate to young people. These are tasks that are taken on and done by the young person not things that are done to them.

Supports - interpersonal relationships that allow the young person to take full advantage of existing services and opportunities. There are three types of supports; emotional, motivational, and strategic.

  • Emotional support provides a young person with caring individuals to help them meet their needs and discuss issues in a safe environment.
  • Motivational support provides high expectations, guidance and/or boundaries.
  • Strategic support helps young people access resources necessary to build competencies.
  • Supports take on various forms but they must be affirming and respectful, ongoing, and offered by a variety of people. Supports are done with young people rather than for them.

Youth Permanency

Permanency means:

  • Is safe and meant to last a lifetime;
  • Offers the legal rights and social status of full family membership;
  • Provides for physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual well-being;
  • Assures lifelong connections to extended family, siblings, other significant adults, family history and traditions, race and ethnic heritage, culture, religion and language.

Source: A Call to Action: An Integrated Approach to Youth Permanency and Preparation for Adulthood. April 2005.

Elements of Youth Permanency

  • The involvement of the youth as a participant or leader in the process;
  • A permanent connection with at least on committed adult who provides a safe, stable and secure parenting relationship, love, unconditional commitment, lifelong support, a legal relationship if possible;
  • The opportunity to maintain contacts with important persons, including siblings.

Source: Models Programs on Youth Permanency. California Permanency Project and California Permanency for Youth Task Force. 2003 (cpyp.org)

Achieving permanency outcomes requires the optimal balance of physical, emotional/relational, legal and cultural dimensions of permanency within every youth’s array of relationships.

  • Physical permanency relates to a safe and stable living environment.
  • Emotional/relational permanency relates to the primary attachments, family and other significant relationships that offer trust and reciprocity.
  • Legal permanency relates to the rights and benefits of a secure legal and social family status.
  • Cultural permanency relates to a continuous connection to family, tradition, race, ethnicity, culture, language and religion.

Source: A Call to Action: An Integrated Approach to Youth Permanency and Preparation for Adulthood. April 2005.

Definition of Collaboration
Adapted from: Collaboration Framework - Addressing Community Capacity: the national Network for Collaboration http://crs.uvm.edu.nnco/collab/framework.html

Collaboration is a process of participation through which people, groups, and organizations work together to achieve desired results. Collaborations accomplish shared vision, achieve positive outcomes for the audiences they serve, and build an interdependent system to address issues and opportunities. Collaborations also involved the sharing of resources and responsibilities to jointly plan, implement and evaluate programs to achieve common goals. Members of the collaboration must be willing to share vision, mission, power, resources and goals.

Goal of Community Collaboration:
(Adapted from: Collaboration Framework - Addressing Community Capacity: the national Network for Collaboration http://crs.uvm.edu.nnco/collab/framework.html

The goal of collaborations is to bring individuals, agencies, organizations and community members themselves together in an atmosphere of support to systematically solve existing and emerging problems that could not easily be solved by one group alone. Collaborations should focus on increasing capacity, communication and efficiency while improving outcomes.

Principles of Collaboration
(adapted from Community Collaboration www.communitycollaboration.net/id22_m.htm) and Collaboration Framework - Addressing Community Capacity: the national Network for Collaboration http://crs.uvm.edu.nnco/collab/framework.html

1. Start with a unifying purpose.
2. Create, maintain and revisit Mission and Vision statements. The vision represents a picture of the future and should be written in the present tense. The mission describes the purpose of the collaboration – it is the fundamental reason for the collaboration’s existence.
3. Set measurable goals and objectives.
4. Set high expectations – expect the best from the people with whom you are working.
5. As a group, identify leaders for the collaboration who are open minded, willing to share leadership and empower others.
6. Show respect for members of the collaboration (consider people’s time, transportation, child care needs, access and comfort, acknowledge the contributions of others, and be flexible.)
7. Foster open and honest communication – remember that everyone needs to be heard.
8. Obtain feedback and evaluate the efforts of the collaboration.
9. Stick with it, persevere and support each other!
10. Celebrate success.

Benefits and Barriers to Effective Collaborations
Adapted from Ohio State University Fact Sheet (http://ohioline.osu.edu/bc-fact/0001.html)

Benefits of collaboration may be immediate or long term, direct or indirect. It is important to note that some members of the collaboration may benefit more than others. Benefits include:

• Improved delivery of programming;
• Opportunities for professional development;
• Improved communication and enhanced information;
• Increased use of programs and resources available in the community;
• Elimination of duplication;
• Come in many different shapes, sizes and are of varying duration – one size does not fit all;
• Increased availability of resources; and
• Improved public image.

Barriers to collaboration include:

• Turf issues and turf mentality;
• Lack of staff or time to participate in the collaboration;
• Conflicts with organizational focus and priorities between the collaboration and its members;
• Mistrust of other organizations;
• Slowed decision making;
• Limited resources or lack of willingness to share existing resources;
• Position statements that are inconsistent with policies of individual coalition members;
• Withdrawal of support as a result of outside pressures from individuals or groups;
• Decreased levels of cooperation among collaborators during a crisis.

Collaboration Checklist
Adapted from: Assessing Your: A Self Evaluation Tool, Journal of Extension, April 1999, Volume 37, Number 2 (http://www.joe.org/joe/1999april/tt1.html)
Each of the following factors influences the collaborative process. After reading a brief description for each of the areas place an X in the box (see Figure 1) that best reflects your opinion of how your collaboration is functioning in each of the areas using the following scale: 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 Disagree, 3 = Neither Agree or Disagree, 4 = Agree, and 5 = Strongly Agree.
Each of the factors is identified and defined:
1. COMMUNICATION - the collaboration has open and clear communication. There is an established process for communication between meetings;
2. SUSTAINABILITY - the collaboration has a plan for sustaining membership and resources. This involves membership guidelines relating to terms of office and replacement of members;
3. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION - the collaboration has conducted a needs assessment or has obtained information to establish its goals and the collaboration continues to obtain feedback and collect data to measure the achievement of goals and objectives;
4. MISSION AND VISION - the mission and vision are clearly stated, embraced by members of the collaboration and periodically revisited;
5. RESOURCES - the collaboration has access to needed resources. Resources refer to four types of capital: environmental, in-kind, financial, and human;
6. PURPOSE - the collaboration was started because of existing problem(s) and the purpose is clear and unifying. The reason(s) for the collaboration to exist required a comprehensive approach;
7. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES - the collaboration has changed policies, laws, and/or regulations that allow the collaboration to function effectively;
8. CONNECTEDNESS - members of this collaboration are connected and have established informal and formal communication networks at all levels;
9. LEADERSHIP - the leadership facilitates and supports team building, and capitalizes upon diversity and individual, group and organizational strengths;
10. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - the community has a history of working cooperatively and solving problems and has been mobilized to address important issues. There is a communication system and formal information channels that permit the exploration of issues, goals and objectives; and,
11. RESPECT - the collaboration values and respects its members and embraces the community, including its people, cultures, values and habits.

Cultural Competence A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or professional and enable that system, agency or professional to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. The word is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, communication, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively. A culturally competent system of care acknowledges and incorporates--at all levels--the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance towards the dynamics that result from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge and the adaptation of services to meet culturally unique needs.

Source: Cross, T. (1988) Fall, 1988 issue of "Focal Point", the bulletin of The Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health, Portland State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207.

Copyright 2007 NRCPFC. All rights reserved.