Learning Objectives–At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- develop program and service exit plans that meet the needs of LGBTQ2S youth
During our youth focus groups we asked youth “ What do you need from the shelter and/or staff to feel comfortable, supported and respected during your exit process?” Here is what they shared with us:
- After care supports that are appropriate for LGBTQ2S youth
- Ask youth what supports they still require access to (e.g. drop-in programs, employment programs, shelter bed, etc) with identity of the youth being respected and considered in the referral process
- Medical referrals
- Support groups
- List of accessible and appropriate resources given to youth
- Important that we are informed where our community resources are
- Having a plan put in place before exiting the shelter
- Make sure youth are prepared/ready/informed
- Having an outreach program, after-care worker to check in after we have moved out of the shelter
- Continuous support/after care
- Ensuring that they have somewhere to go
- Check in with youth from time to time
- Smooth transitioning (this includes more timely information about services and options when aging out of housing program)
- The pace of the exit needs to meet the needs of the individual, not that of the staff/program.
- Communication amongst professionals/youth during exit transition (this including maintaining staff connections when exiting housing; do not place with new worker at this stressful time of transition
- Staff in ALL programs/services be trained in LGBTQ2S so that the support is consistent regardless of where a youth is exiting to.
You are probably doing many if not all of these.
- Begin working with youth to support their exiting your program/services as early as possible. Do not wait until the day before.
- Begin connecting LGBTQ2S to community supports as soon as possible. Relationships take time to develop and the sooner youth are connected to community supports, the sooner this relationship can begin to develop. The goal is to always make the transition as fluid as possible.
- It is often difficult to obtain funding for follow up care/support. But this is important work. One our goals should always be to prevent youth from re-entering the shelter system. This can be facilitated by connecting youth with community supports in the neighbour they move into. Also having easy to access resources available for youth. Information such as land-tenant materials (this can include a community organization that can work with youth to prevent eviction e.g. rent banks and advocacy work).
- Are there ways you can enable youth to continue to connect with your organization after they exit? For example the Phoenix Print Shop (the social enterprise and an employment training program of Eva’s Initiatives) offers a scholarship program to graduates of the training program. Is it possible to have a monthly drop-in night where youth who have exited your program participate in (e.g. a monthly community dinner)? Can staff have time allocated to follow up work (e.g. if a youth needs support they are encouraged to connect with their former case manager to help access the needed support)?
- Work with partner organizations to ensure they are LGBTQ2S inclusive (see the Partnership and Program Referrals modules for more details on how to do this).
Do you have any recommendations to add? Please add them as a comment on this page and we will add them to the list.