Division of Indian Work's Healing Spirit provides education and assistance to youth in long-term foster care and those transitioning to independent living. This program focuses on American Indian foster teens that have a history of significant disruptions in their placement and have a minimum of four intakes to the emergency shelter system.
Healing Spirit House
Healing Spirit House provides supportive, safe, positive, drug-free, alcohol-free environment and in-house services for long-term foster care American Indian males aged 16-21. The healing Spirit House is designed like a typical home, not a facility. Youth have a chance to work through their feelings about family difficulties and abuse they may have suffered. Residents learn independent living skills through group meetings and daily experiential learning such as assigned household chores and planning and preparing nightly house dinners.
Staff coordinate educational and vocational services, including enrollment in GED services and setting educational and career goals. Spirituality and culture are important components of the Healing Spirit House. Connection to culture gives American Indian youth a sense of identity and membership that is especially important when facing the challenges of growing up in the foster care system.
When a youth nears his time to age out of the system, the Case Manager assists him to find housing, connects him to resources that provide jobs skills training, additional education, or other employment opportunities depending on which direction the youth wants to go. The Case Manager stays in close contact with youth to smooth the transition into independent living. Residents know that they are always welcome to contact us if they need additional support or just want to stop by to visit.
Healthy Transitions and Homelessness Prevention
Healthy Transitions and Homelessness Prevention works with Healing Spirit boys and other young foster care boys and girls, both in and out of foster care, ages 16 to 21 to prepare them for successful independent living when they age out of the foster care system at 18. The HTHP Program is an expansion of services to youth in the Healing Spirit House program.
Youth Workers meet each youth for an intake interview that includes the on-line Ansell Casey Life Skills Assessment. This assessment addresses the following: career planning, communication; daily living; home life; housing and money management; self-care, social relationships; work life and work and study skills. Youth make an Independent Living Plan with the results of these assessments. The plan includes timelines to achieve each goal and is reviewed by-weekly. All youth attend the weekly Life Skills Group and events that address the Casey Life Skills Assessment.
Youth Workers work with youth to develop an affordable housing plan which requires researching available options by working with community housing agencies such as People Serving People, Catholic Charities, YouthLink and others. Financial responsibility is included in the Weekly Life Skills groups and youth develop a plan for saving money.
Youth Workers also work with them to plan an appropriate educational path for each youth and include this goal in their individual case plans. Youth Workers meet weekly with each youth to assure satisfactory progress on their educational plan.
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