Not your Typical Mentoring Program
Since inception, the Real Connections program has pushed to expand the knowledge base on what works for helping older youth in care achieve permanent adult connections. While elevating its practice to meet or exceed national mentoring guidelines, Real Connections worked in collaboration with the Department of Children, Youth and Families and other partner organizations to implement innovative family finding techniques to advance permanency.
What does Real Connections do to help youth find caring adults?
- Seneca Search - An online tool that specializes in searching public records to locate relatives of children in foster care. For youth in care, these connections are sometimes not known or were lost. Staff work with a youth's treatment team to share this information with youth and build networks of support for youth.
- Record Mining - A strategy used to identify pieces of information that the youth may want to know or to locate information in their record that may have been lost as the youth’s case has transferred between case workers. Real Connections staff, in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth and Families, read through each line of a youths' electronic and paper records to find leads on potential adults to connect a young person to.
- Eco-map - A visual representation of the youth’s current and past connections that helps us not only get to know the youth and where they are at, but also identify where they can build on or re-engage with existing connections. Real Connections staff will work with the youth and his/her treatment team to identify strengths and areas of need for youth in cultivating a network of support.