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Transition-Aged Youth and Young Adults

Key Concepts

  • We recognize that youth in transition toward adulthood have unique needs to support their developing independence.
  • Transition-aged services are designed to support youth’s autonomy and ability to navigate the adult world to meet their needs.
  • Goals and direction of services and supports are driven by the individual youth/young adult
  • Important to recognize the role of peers in the youth’s desired life goals
  • Essential to include youth voice and youth-driven action in creating an effective system of care
  • Essential supports are not primarily treatment supports rather life supports
  • The goal of transition-aged services is not symptom management but rather achieving the developmental goals of any youth transitioning to adulthood (educational achievement, employment, home, family, friends)

Transition-Aged Youth and Young Adults

Young adults, families/adult allies, and community partners collaborate to develop a system of care to support the transition to adulthood. The system builds upon the strengths of young adults and creates an array of specialized mental health and related services to meet their unique and changing needs. The system also fosters young adult leadership.

The services teach life skills and connect young adults to the things they want and need to live successfully and independently – e.g., resources for housing, counseling, medical care, employment and education. The case managers continue to work with the young adults after these connections are made to coach them through the changes they are making to improve their lives. Many young adults feel that having such a case manager is vital to their making key decisions and changes.

Youth Thrive is the framework used for building protective and resilience factors with youth and young adults.  It is similar to the Strengthening Families framework, but with a youth lens.  The protective and promotive factors are:

1. Youth Resilience

2. Social Connections

3. Knowledge of Adolescent Development

4. Concrete Support in Times of Need

5. Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence

To learn more about the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and the Youth Thrive framework, visit