At Plummer Youth Promise, the young people we care for have had difficult childhoods, and as a result, often lack social, emotional and educational skills many other youth take for granted. In many cases, their circumstances have also made it impossible for them to develop a network of support and the kinds of connections with their community that will help them as they become young adults. The Preparedness and Community components of Plummer’s Intervention Model focus on skill-building, support and connection. Some of our practices include:
Collaborative Problem Solving – To help young people understand those behavioral challenges they face that may be keeping them from successfully developing relationships or making healthy decisions, we use Collaborative Problem-Solving. This evidence-based practice is premised on the belief that challenges posed by young people result from lagging cognitive skills, rather than poor motivation, manipulation, or attention-seeking, and are best addressed by teaching youth the skills they lack, rather than imposing punishment or a reward system. We use collaborative problem solving every day. We also teach families how to apply this practice so they are able to help a child successfully transition into their home. This also helps minimize the chances the young person will re-enter the foster care system at a later date.
Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) – When a young person is experiencing an immediate crisis, the reaction of people around him or her can mean the difference between a learning opportunity and something terrible like injury, hospitalization or even an arrest. We use TCI both to ensure a safe environment for our youth and to teach them constructive ways to handle things like frustration, anger, rejection, hurt and depression. Importantly, although a traditional TCI framework allows for the use of physical restraints, at Plummer we have adopted a restraint-free environment.
Preparing Adolescents for Young Adulthood (PAYA) – Young people need a range of personal and practical skills if they are going to succeed as adults. Unfortunately, the instability experienced by many youth in foster care means they haven’t had the opportunity to learn these skills. Maybe nobody taught them about self-care, or how to eat well. Perhaps they’ve never had a bank account. Teens may not know how to apply for a job or access community resources. Plummer Youth Promise uses the PAYA curriculum developed by the Department of Children and Families to teach these skills, which are integral to our Intervention Model.
Recreation – Children need so much more than food and shelter to grow into healthy adults. Among other things, they need opportunities for unstructured fun. To bring normalcy into the lives of Plummer youth, we offer recreational activities typical for today’s young people. Activities are determined by the interests of the youth, and almost all require community and peer interaction. For example, at our Group Home, if someone is interested in theater, we try to obtain tickets. If someone wants to play baseball, we search for a league, pay the requisite fees and get the appropriate equipment.
Other recreational opportunities we provide include:
- Summer camps and sports camps, including necessary equipment, uniforms and registration fees
- School and intramural sports; proms; school outings and clubs
- Outings to amusement parks, beaches and other sites typically enjoyed by teenagers
- An annual multi-day vacation for group home and supported apartment residents, most of whom have never experienced a vacation.
- Skiing and snowboarding trips
- Theater performances