Youth Connections Scale
Research and practice wisdom confirms the belief that all youth need the support of caring adults. Youth often lose supportive adult connections while in out-of-home care. Many experts now advocate for a focus within child welfare on building permanent, supportive connections for these youth.
The Youth Connections Scale (YCS) was developed in order to fill a need in child welfare: To evaluate and measure the increased efforts of agencies to improve the relational permanence of youth in foster care.
The YCS was developed by the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) at the University of Minnesota in partnership with Anu Family Services. Experts in the field were consulted in development of this scale, including scholars, social workers, supervisors and administrators of public and private child welfare and youth serving agencies. Specifically, items such as the Support Indicators within the YCS were informed by
existing practice tools, such as the Permanency Pact, which was developed by young people from FosterClub (2006); the BEST tool developed by Casey Family Services* and the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets.
*Frey, L., Cushing, G., Freundlich, M., & Brenner, E. (2008). Achieving permanency for youth in foster care: Assessing and strengthening emotional security. Child and Family Social Work, 13(2), 218–226.
The YCS can be used as a tool by practitioners, supervisors, and evaluators of child welfare practice in a variety of ways:
- To measure permanent, supportive connections for youth in foster care
- To guide case planning around strengthening youth connections to caring adults
- To track the efforts of workers as they identify, maintain, and help strengthen connections
- To evaluate practices and strategies that aim to increase the relational permanence of youth
In addition to the YCS tool, we have created two documents to help you in the implementation and scoring of the YCS.
- Youth Connections Scale (PDF)
- Measuring Relational Performance of Youth: Youth Connections Scale (summary; PDF)
- Measuring Relational Performance of Youth: The Youth Connections Scale Implementation and Scoring Guide (PDF)
These training materials have been made possible, in part, by a Title IV-E Training Project grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (GRK%29646).
The content in this publication is derived from a scholarly article: Semanchin Jones, A. & LaLiberte, T. (2013). Measuring youth connections: A component of relational permanence for foster youth. Children and Youth Services Review.