|Teen Bridges (TBP)|
The Latin American Youth Center’s Teen Bridge Program (TBP) strives to promote stability and independence for both male and female youth 16-21 years of age, referred by Child and Family Services (CFSA), by providing them with staff support 24 hours a day in a safe, culturally competent, group home setting. The Teen Bridge Program provides a home-like environment while offering a wide array of life skills and access to services that will prepare them for self-sufficiency.
Approximately 3,000 young people are currently in the care of the District of Columbia’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) and placed in foster care facilities outside their homes. These individuals enter the foster care system following events that warrant their removal from an unsafe home. The circumstances surrounding such events often take the form of neglect, abuse, or abandonment. CFSA places these young people in a variety of settings ranging from individual foster families to group homes or independent living programs.
The LAYC’s Teen Bridge Program combines aspects of both the group home and independent living model to form the TBP. The TBP aims to provide older adolescents with the tools they need to succeed in adulthood. Through the provision of 24-hour staffing in a home like environment, the TBP focuses on teaching all of the life skills necessary for these youth to live self-sufficient lives.
Spanish and English services are offered to the youth to reflect the work of these different staff members, and include:
All TBP youth can also take advantage of all the other resources that the LAYC has to offer such as: work skills, education enhancement, and a full array of social services, recreational activities as well as art & media training.
Criteria for Admission into TBP
The overarching goal of the TBP is to provide more than shelter, food, case management, job development and life skills training. By promoting stability, providing a positive environment and offering staff that serves as mentors, the various aspects of a young person’s development towards adulthood can be addressed. Upon graduation from the TBP either at age 21 or earlier- depending on an individual’s development, the resident should have the necessary skills to acquire his/her own housing and begin to lead a self sufficient adult life. By linking these young individuals to positive support networks and offering these services, the TBP aims to prepare these young people to play positive roles in the development of their community.