Course Summary

Overview of Representing Adolescents in Court

This overview section begins to address some of the issues and challenges advocates will face while representing adolescents. Subsequent modules will deal with the issues more in depth.
Scene: Youth is angry. Directs it towards the volunteer. A new volunteer begins to look at how her role and a teen’s anger can conflict.
PDF: Lessons Learned from Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice
Website: Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative

Section 1-2

An explanation is given regarding the crisis youths experience upon removal from their home.
Scene:  Volunteer meets with her supervisor. Volunteer learns some of the key issues of representing adolescents. Developmental stages are introduced.

Section 1-3

The advocate meets again with her supervisor to learn how to balance the needs of the youth and the goal of safety.
Scene: The volunteer and youth come together on how to use youth’s strength to help him advocate in court. Volunteer has learned to work with the youth and not fear his needs.
PDF: Nonoffender Benchbook, Court Improvement Training Academy, Chapter on CASA and GAL

Adolescent Development and the Impact of Trauma

The concept of viewing adolescent develop as “stages not ages” is discussed in depth. Users are introduced to Early, Middle and Late stages irregardless of age.
Scene: A teacher introduces the developmental differences between several students to a volunteer.
PDF: Stages, Not Ages Continuum; Developmental Tasks of Adolescents, The Adolescent Brain (2011)

Section 2-2

The user will learn how life experiences can impact adolescent development.
Scene: The teacher explains how the developmental differences impacts teaching and supporting her students.
Website: Adolescent Health Curriculum from the University of Southern California
A true-false quiz on all aspects of adolescent development can be downloaded to share with others.

The Role of the Adolescent in the Courtroom

This first section introduces the idea of how to involve youths in court including a variety of opinions as to why, how and if youths should be involved in their court proceedings.
The Interactive Courtroom includes a range of roles volunteers and youths may see in a courtroom. This may be used later with the youth to prepare a youth for what he/she can expect.

Interactive Courtroom

An interactive “game” format is provided to assist the user with understanding the many roles in a courtroom and can later share this “game” with the young person he/she is assigned to represent.
PDF: A variety of chapters from the Washington State Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook related specific courtroom roles.

Section 3-2

Questions help the user explore their own ideas about involving youths in the court process.
PDF: A youth handbook and courtroom roles is available and can be reviewed with the young person.

Section 3-3

The user is challenged to consider ways to include the youths in this scene in their court process.
Scene: Two volunteers help prepare their youths for their day in court.
PDF: Youth Recommendations to the Court (Youth Justice Board - NY), Youth Pressence in Dependency Hearings - Family and Juvenile Justice Today Fall 2006, Involving Youth in Court - ABA Child Law Practice, Youth Testifying in Court Part 2 - ABA Child Law Practice, Listen to Me! - Family and Court Review 2008

Section 3-4

The user will answer questions about what stage of development matches the youth’s level of court involvement. Questions to explore are provided.
PDF: Questions to Ask

Section 3-5

User is provided with a summary of the benefits to include youths in court.

Environment: Youth, Family, and Others

The user will begin to understand the adolescent world and how to enter it as a means of building a rapport. It may also help generate ideas for permanency.
Scene: An advocate meets her new youth and struggles with how to connect.
PDF: Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, Fostering Connections - Proposed improvements Nov 2009, Key Considerations for Implementing the Notice Requirement of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act
Websites: National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections, Fostering Connections Resource Center,

Section 4-2

The user will learn how to engage the youth by using the Strengths/Needs Interviewing Tool.
Scene: Volunteer visits the youth’s teacher.
PDF: Strengths & Needs Interviewing Tool - Instructions, Strengths & Needs Suggested Questions, Strengths & Needs Form

Section 4-3

The user begins to learn how to explore family traditions, roles, and composition.
Scene: The volunteer enters her youth’s world and a rapport begins to develop. Options for permanency begin to unfold.
Resource: Judicial Guide to Implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

Identity and Diversity

Youths in foster care need to be viewed as multi-cultural and how this can conflict with their developmental need to form an identity.
Scene: The volunteer meets with her young person who is upset about issues in the foster home.

Section 5-2

Scene: The volunteer is trying to understand how the cultural differences are impacting the development of the foster youths she has met. Volunteer meets with her supervisor for perspective.
PDF: Washington State Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook, Court Improvement Training Academy, University of Washington - Chapter on the Indian Child Welfare Act, Washington State Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook, Court Improvement Training Academy, University of Washington - Chapter on LGBTQ Youth, LGBTQ Youth and Spirituality (Tidhar, 2009), GLBTQ LIfe Skills Guidebook (Casey)
Website: Adaption Guidelines for Serving Latino Children and Families Affected by Trauma (Chadwick Center)

Section 5-3

The user will explore strategies to help youths address their cultural needs while still forming their identity.
Website: Knowing Who You Are (Casey Programs)

Youth Health and Addictions

Introduction of how health and medical neglect are often found in situations of physical and sexual abuse. Facts are matched with statistics related to youths in care.
PDF: Mental Health Trends wihtin Out of Home Placements within Systems of Care, Medicaid Access for Youths Aging Out of Foster Care, Federal Amendments to States/Tribes serving IV-E and CFCIP Youths

Section 6-2

A range of behavioral issues are addressed that might indicate a health issue needs to be addressed. Five cases with different health and mental health needs are presented to explore action steps a volunteer may take.
PDF: Nutritional Assessment of the Adolescent including BMI

Section 6-3

Scene: A volunteer meets the youth from fifth case, Sean, and struggles with how to assist this obese youth.
Websites: Health Information for Teens including Advocacy and Insurance, Common Teen Health Concerns, Healthy Foster Care America

Understanding Youth Educational Needs

The user will begin to learn about various educational programs and match youths to educational programs that compliment their strengths to help them achieve higher education.
Website: Vocational Rehabilitation
PDF: Educational Abbreviations and Terms, Key Factors Influencing Academic Success, Washington State Juvenile Nonoffender Benchbook - Chapter on Education, How Fostering Connections and McKinney-Vento can Support School Success

Quiz 7-1

This quiz allows participants to learn how to match programs to specific youths.
PDF’s are also available: Foster Care and Education: Courtroom Advocacy (ABA & Casey) and
Meeting the Education Requirements of Fostering Connections (across disciplines)

Section 7-2

Post-secondary educational planning: resources, what to look for, and how to include such resources in court reports.
Websites: FAFSA site, On Your Way, Military Options, Directory of Trade School
PDF: Providing Effective Financial Aid to Foster Youths

Section 7-3

Federal policies, such as Chafee and McKinney Vento, that target foster youths. Suggestions from the Bar Association.
Websites: American Bar Association - Blueprint for Change
PDF: McKinney-Vento Act - Education for Homeless Children, McKinney-Vento Special Education and Homelessness and the Connection to the American Recovery Act, Blueprint: 8 Goals and Strategies, Blueprint for Change, Second Edition, Complete PDF

Life Skills Development

The narrator demonstrates the importance of life skills as a critical piece for youths to have a successful transition to adulthood.
Scene: Residents in a group home learn how to cook.
Websites: Chapin Hall: Midwest evaluation of adult functioning
PDF: Teaching Skills from a Developmental Perspective, Chapin Hall:Midwest Evaluation of Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Executive Summary last wave)

Section 8-2

The user learns why foster youths frequently have minimum life skill development.
Scene: Volunteer advocate meets with the group home social worker.
PDF: Midwest Evaluation of Adult Functioning of Foster Youths, Outcomes at age 21

Section 8-3

The user is exposed to the benefits of youths teaching other youths.
Scene: A resident at the group home teaches a new resident how to cook.
PDF: How Young Adults Learn, Transition Tool Kit

Section 8-4

Strategies for Including life skills in court reports and information about the Chafee Act.
Website: Casey LIfe Skills/Chafee FAQ
PDF: LIfe Skills Inventory

Work Experiences for Youths

The narrator addresses the need for all foster youths to have work experiences. Discussion: Benefits of work experiences.
Website: Youth Development Study Publications, Chapin Hall - Employment Outcomes of Former Foster Youth
PDF: An Employment Training and Job Placement Program (Cook County, IL)

Section 9-2

Discussion: Guide youths by matching their developmental stage with appropriate work experiences.
Scene: Supervisor challenges the volunteer advocate to help her youth achieve work experiences.
Websites: Vocational Rehabilitation, Military Options, Americorps and VISTA
PDF: Work Experiences and Developmental Stage

Section 9-3

User learns about a variety of resources for youth work experiences.
Websites: Department of Labor - Youth Programs, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Programs, Job Corps
PDF: WIA Policy Description, Job Shadowing

Living Arrangements

Overview of twelve different living arrangement and matching youths to an appropriate situation. Twelve testimonies follow this.
Websites: National Coalition for the Homeless, Adoption and Safe Families Act (CASA Summary),  National Alliance to End Homelessness
PDF: Homeless Youth Fact Sheet - August 2008 National Coalition for the Homeless, HUD McKinney Vento - June 2009 National Coalition for the Homeless

Section 10-2

How the advocate can use their understanding about living arrangements to educate the court.
Websites: NPR Youth testimony, Chapin Hall: Does Keeping Youth in Foster Care Beyond Age 18 Help Prevent Homelessness?
PDF: Living Arrangement Options, Tips for Getting Youths into Apartments, Chapin Hall Brief on Aged Out Youth - April 2010

Section 10-3

Resources for helping prepare youths for a variety of living arrangements.
PDF: List of Items Needed for a Home, Housing Skills to Practice,  Risk Scale, Housing Terms and Sample documents