True North

Forging Pathways to Healthy Relationships & Economic Stability

Children’s Harbor was awarded a $5 million, 5 year grant from the Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Children and Families Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Grants.  The grant, entitled True North, will help 200 young adults, age 18 to 23, who have been involved in the foster care system, forge pathways to healthy relationships and economic stability.  The grant runs from with Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2020.

True North is comprised of the following key components: healthy relationship sessions, strengths-based case management and motivational interviewing, financial literacy sessions, job readiness, employment opportunities, and permanent connections. At completion of True North, program participants will show improved adult and child well-being, improved family functioning, improved financial and economic stability, reduced poverty, and successful transition to adulthood.

Children’s Harbor will implement the True North program with its partners, the Urban League of Broward County who will be providing financial literacy workshops and Big Brothers Big Sisters who will be providing support through mentor relationships.

Beginning in September 2016, 100 young adults will be randomly assigned to participate as part of the treatment group with another 100 young adults considered a control group.  This intensive program will last 23 months with ongoing follow up after discharge. A second cohort of 100 young adults will be assigned to participate in May 2018.

Participating young adults will be connected to a masters level Navigator who will meet with them weekly to guide them towards achievement of established goals using the evidence-based Motivational Interviewing methodology. Monthly group sessions will build relationship and financial literacy skills utilizing proven practices like the Love Notes 2.0 curriculum and the Center for Working Families. Young adults will also be connected to subsidized and unsubsidized employment opportunities. Youth engagement elements, such as prosocial activities and incentives, are included to support recruitment and retention of participants.

High level research of the program components, outcome evaluation, and assessments of the treatment and control groups, are expected to provide data to inform the child welfare field about serving transitioning youth.