Youth Catalytics Report: TOP® for High-Need Youth

Headquartered in Connecticut, Youth Catalytics is a certified replication partner in Wyman’s National Network, and one of a few partners that are experimenting with Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® with a unique, high-need population.

For their “TOP® in CT” project, Youth Catalytics is implementing Wyman’s TOP® with 176 young people in alternative education settings and therapeutic out-of-home placements in Connecticut. This is the first-ever attempt to replicate TOP®’s success with youth in residential care settings – who are at high risk of teen pregnancy and parenting, often struggle with traditional learning models and who experience frequent disruptions in their school and living situations. In delivery, they have maintained strict fidelity to the TOP® model while taking advantage of the program’s flexibility, with this specific population.

A recent brief, published by Youth Catalytics in January of 2013, assesses their progress in the first two years of the five-year project, and asks the question: “Can a model that has been shown to work well with teens in mainstream settings also work for more vulnerable, high-need young people?” Their experience says yes.

A few key considerations from the report:
  • Clinical history and special needs. Prior to starting lessons and as they occur, facilitators should be aware of the special circumstances of individuals each individual in the high need population – including history of trauma, psychological disabilities, etc.
  • Learning styles. Many participants in this setting are not traditional learners. The facilitators training in multiple intelligence theory enables them to present material in a variety of meaningful and relevant ways.
  • Collaboration with on-site professionals. In addition to teaming up with clinical staff to ensure facilitators are aware and informed of each individual’s needs, on-site professionals can play a supportive role to reinforce program objectives, even after club meetings are over.

Read the full report from Youth Catalytics, here.

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