News Releases

December 17, 2015

DCF Becomes Part of National Youth Thrive Learning Community

DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz is pleased to announce that, after a national competition, the Vermont Department for Children and Families has been selected as one of five inaugural members of the Center for the Study of Social Policy's (CSSP) Youth Thrive Learning Community. The goal of the program is to create systemic changes that help reduce the risks young people face while building on factors that promote their healthy development and well-being.

Youth Thrive is a research-informed framework that functions as a lens for assessing current efforts and making needed changes to policies, programs, trainings, services, partnerships and systems that impact young people.

"We are honored to have been awarded a place in this learning community," said Commissioner Schatz. "Our state team is excited about having the opportunity to work with a national group that's recognized for working with state systems to move the needle on child well-being. We'll use what we learn, from CSSP and other team members, to assess our policies and practices and systematically get better at what we do. Our goal is to best support the healthy development of youth in our care."

Over the coming months, the Vermont Team will work with CSSP staff to assess nearly every aspect of our work with youth - from licensing procedures and community partnerships to leadership development and contracting - to determine where changes are needed. This work will be led by DCF staff and Washington County Youth Services. In the spring, team members will join the four other organizations selected (Westchester County Department of Social Services, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, New York City Department of Probation, and Georgia Division of Family and Children Services) and the original two Youth Thrive sites (New Jersey Department of Children and Families and the Brevard Family Partnership) for peer exchange and to set a work agenda for 2016.

"Being part of the learning community puts Vermont at the center of a national movement to elevate youth care work in light of a growing understanding of the developing adolescent brain'" said Kreig Pinkham, team member and Executive Director of Washington County Youth Service Bureau. "It is the next step in a journey that a number of dedicated youth care workers have been on for over a decade - one that will see Vermont leading the country in integrating best practice and developmentally-informed approaches to help all youth recognize their unique strengths and envision ways that these strengths can improve communities."

This approach for working with youth fits well with the strengths-based approach being implemented in Vermont's early childhood system of care, which began using CSSP's 'Strengthening Families' model of family partnership and service a few years ago.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Luciana DiRuocco, DCF Executive Staff Assistant, (802) 871-3385

Source: Department of Children and Families
Last Updated at: December 17, 2015 16:11:04