A Safe and Permanent Home for Every Youth: The Casey Family Programs Practice Model
May 9, 2014 | Jorge Cabrera, Senior Director, Casey Family Programs
Elena, a 15-year-old girl in foster care, recently reconnected with her older sister and grandmother after more than seven years. She has been in care for more than three years, including 18 months in residential care and other failed foster home placements. During this time, she experienced significant mental health concerns. Elena recently was placed in a Casey foster home with a family that shares Elena’s cultural and linguistic background and is committed to supporting her permanency.
Elena, a 15-year-old girl in foster care, recently reconnected with her older sister and grandmother after more than seven years. She has been in care for more than three years, including 18 months in residential care and other failed foster home placements. During this time, she experienced significant mental health concerns. Elena recently was placed in a Casey foster home with a family that shares Elena’s cultural and linguistic background and is committed to supporting her permanency. Intensive and culturally responsive clinical case management helped her better understand her traumatic history and improved her ability to manage her emotional responses. Today, Elena is stable for the first time in many years and can hope for a better future. Her grandmother wants Elena to come to live with her and her extended family. Plans are underway for a family group decision-making meeting, where this option can be further explored.
Like Elena, many older youth in foster care face numerous complexities in achieving legal permanency. They are more likely to stay in care for longer periods of time and to age out—often without the type of life-long family and other meaningful connections that are necessary anchors for success in key life domains. National data reveal that only 15% of youth ages 13 to 17 who have been in care for two years or more are likely to achieve legal permanency.
Casey Family Programs is the nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care and building communities of hope for children and families across America. Founded in 1966, we work in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to influence long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families, and the communities in which they live.
The Casey practice model “A Safe and Permanent Family for Every Youth” articulates a set of values, principles, and practice approaches that guide the foundation’s work with youth and families. Given their poor outcomes, Casey has prioritized older youth as a focus of practice improvements.
In partnership with the local child welfare agencies, Casey’s nine field offices have incorporated the best available evidence-based and evidence-informed practice approaches that support Casey’s ultimate goal: no youth should age out of foster care without a permanent and safe family.
Jorge Cabrera is senior director for Casey Family Programs, a national operating foundation based in Seattle, Washington, that provides direct services to foster youth and engages in collaborative and systems improvement efforts in partnership with the public child welfare system and other community organizations. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the direct services in the Casey field offices in San Diego, California, Mr. Cabrera leads Casey’s strategic consulting work in San Diego and Orange counties (California) and in Puerto Rico. Prior to this, Mr. Cabrera worked in Tucson, Arizona, as a family therapist with a focus on serving Latino families and children involved in the child welfare system.
Mr. Cabrera has a strong interest and experience in building partnerships that effectively impact the lives and well-being of children and families of color. He has been a presenter at national conferences focusing on the development of collaborative efforts that best serve kinship care families, the intersection of immigration and child welfare, and the delivery of clinical services to underserved populations. Mr. Cabrera has a master’s in social work degree from Arizona State University.
See Mr. Cabrera present on this topic at the NCCD Conference on Children, Youth, and Families