Transition age youth with mental health challenges face many difficulties as they move into adulthood, as child-serving systems give way to adult-serving systems with varying eligibility requirements. Achieving success in important domains of their lives; like education, work, stable housing, transportation, relationships can be very daunting. Many of these youth have become system “weary” and “wary” and have no interest in being a part of a system designed and run by adults. The Bridges to the Future aims to be the conduit bridging the gap to services for youth, maximizing their potential and to teach them how to take the driver seat of their own plans of action and their futures.
About Bridges to the Future
Bridges to the Future is a SAMHSA-funded grant initiative in Montgomery County designed to meet the multifaceted needs of youth and young adults (Y/YA) transitioning into adulthood, ages 16-21 with behavioral health challenges.
The population of focus are youth and young adults who are disconnected or loosely connected to work or school or at risk of loosely those connections. This initiative hopes to develop a system of comprehensive, integrated services and supports to “bridge” the gap between children’s mental health to adult mental health and related systems including education, training, independent living skills, employment, and housing. The core of Bridges to the Future model is the youth-friendly, care coordination practice model for Y/YA which is based on wraparound principles and SOC philosophy.
The Bridges to the Future’s youth-friendly care coordination model provides the support of the Transition Coordinator to engage the Y/YA create their own youth support teams by identifying who they consider family and people in their lives that they feel supported by which could be parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, a therapist and other adult allies. A Transition Coordinator works with Y/YA to develop a plan of action called a “Future Plan” that drives the services and supports necessary to achieve success in identified life domains selected by the Y/YA. The Future Plan builds on individual functional strengths that align with specific goals and build a roadmap to access individualized, integrated, community-based, and culturally competent services/resources needed to successfully launch into adulthood.
Each Y/YA is paired with a peer support provider has lived experience and uses that experience to support Y/YA while they are working towards their goals. The Transition Coordinator convenes the YST every 4-6 weeks to monitor progress, review goals and update the Future Plan and to identify additional resources and services needed to meet the Y/YA goals. Families and caregivers will receive support and knowledge to appropriately support their Y/YA through this tough transition in life.
What we do
Youth and young adult friendly, care coordination of services and supports for youth, ages 16-21 with behavioral health challenges including but not limited to:
- Connect young adults leaving child serving agencies to appropriate adult serving agencies
- Provide positive peer support partners to share knowledge and experiences for recovery
- Help youth prepare and obtain education and/or work
- Guide youth to achieve independence and improve self-efficacy
- Assist youth in building and maintaining social connections
- Help youth access any care needed regarding behavioral health needs
- Hold pop-up youth and young adult friendly activities teach essential life skills
- Provide youth, young adult and family leadership training opportunities
- Provide family support activities to foster community connectedness