Transition-Age Youth and Families (TAYF)
In 2014, the Hogg foundation awarded nine grants totaling roughly $10 million to identify and address the mental health needs of transition-age youths and their families (TAYF) in the Houston/Harris County area. The focus of the initiative is to enhance resources and supports to TAYF through their active participation in program development and provision of ongoing services.
The four-year TAYF initiative includes the coordinator and eight Transition-Age Youth grantees. The role of the coordinator is to support the grantees by organizing training, technical assistance and consultation around best practices when working with TAYF. The grantees are responsible for increasing TAYF voice and choice in designing programs to meet the needs of this unique population. Grantees also partner with one another and additional service providers in the Houston area in an effort to build a coordinated, TAYF-guided services and support system.
Young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 go through significant changes in their development as they transition into adulthood. Their decisions during this period can have a dramatic effect on the rest of their lives, affecting their employment and future careers, their living situations, their education and their health.
During the transition period, as youths transition to the adult mental health service system, they often drop out of services and their mental health needs go unaddressed. This vulnerable population, an estimated 3 million young adults who live with serious mental health conditions, are at greater risk for involvement in the juvenile justice and foster care systems. They also often experience challenges in education such as disciplinary referrals and dropping out of school.
With this in mind, the foundation, interested in identifying and addressing the needs of transition-age youths and families (TAYF), funded a six-month planning period for the eight grantees. During the planning phase the grantees met with TAYF and service providers to develop an implementation plan to provide TAYF services based on their input and involvement. All eight plans were accepted, and the grantees received grant funds to implement services over four-years to Houston TAYF.
The foundation has awarded eight grants totaling $10 million to service providers in the Houston/Harris County area, as well as a coordinator grant to the Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS). The four-year grants are the latest milestone in an ongoing effort to identify and address the mental health needs of transition-age youths and their families.
- Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics — To increase direct services to TAYF in several clinics; to increase training for TAYF and professionals who work with them; and to increase collaboration between pediatric and adult mental health providers.
- Communities In Schools of Houston Inc. — To support efforts to plan and establish TAYF-driven services in the area of school dropout prevention; offer peer navigators to support youth transition to adult service and higher education.
- Disability Rights Texas — To support collaborative work with TAYF and other stakeholders to plan the provision of legal services and self-advocacy skills training for TAYF with mental health conditions.
- Easter Seals of Greater Houston Inc. — To support a collaboration of organizations that want to provide transition services leading to higher education and employment for teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
- Family Services of Greater Houston — To support the organization’s goal of engaging TAYF in developing resources to support the emotional and behavioral health needs of transition-age youths and their families.
- Harris County Protective Services for Children and Adults — To support the activities of the Houston Alumni & Youth Center, a one-stop center where foster care and former foster care youths can receive a wide range of transition resources, services and support.
- Houston Department of Health and Human Services — For its Houston Youth: Healthy Transitions project, a planning process that will involve TAYF to develop young people to become certified peer wellness specialists.
- Star of Hope Mission — To support the development and delivery of supportive services to TAYF through their three main facilities: the Men’s Development Center, the Women & Family Shelter and the Transitional Living Center.
In its role as coordinator of the grant program, Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) facilitates collaborative efforts among grantees, TAYF and other community service providers in Houston/Harris County. The goal is to increase the service provider community’s awareness and involvement of TAYF.
Depelchin Children’s Center leads the evaluation efforts in collaboration with TNOYS. Depelchin is responsible for conducting a process evaluation of the initiative. TNOYS’ evaluation role is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of project results that includes engagement of youths and caregivers through a participatory action research model.
Young Minds Matter Conference
Since 2010, the foundation has hosted a free biennial conference in Houston focusing on children’s mental health topics. Ideally, the conference theme coincides with the Ima Hogg Children’s Mental Health Grant Program. The most recent conference,“Young Minds Matter: Transition-Age Youth,” was held June 9-10, 2015, and focused on transition-age youths and their families.
The Hogg Foundation, and the grantees of the Transition-Age Youth and Family (TAYF) initiative, are committed to involving youths and their families at every stage of the planning and implementation process.
To this end the planning phase of the initiative included training in the Transition to Independence (TIP) model, an evidence-supported system developed to help prepare youths and young adults with emotional and/or behavioral difficulties for their movement into adult roles. The TAYF grantees are not required to be certified by the National Network on Youth Transition (NNYT) for Behavioral Health, which is the organization that oversees training and certification in the TIP model, but the values of the model are shared by the initiative and are consonant with the Hogg Foundation’s commitment to incorporating the voices of consumers and families into everything the foundation does.
For more on the TIP model visit the NNYT website.
Hogg Program Officer
Vicky Coffee-Fletcher has committed over 27 years to enhancing mental health resources and supports in Texas in a variety of service positions. She has a passion for ensuring the mental health system of care includes consumer, youth, and family representation as well as culturally competent care. Coffee-Fletcher joined the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in 2007, where she currently leads initiatives to improve the mental health of young people and families in the Houston area. She leads the foundation’s work in the area of African American faith-based education and awareness. Coffee-Fletcher is a founding member of the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Professionals Network and has also served as an executive board member and secretary for the National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health.
Coffee-Fletcher holds a Bachelor of Science in child and family development and a Master of Education, both from Texas State University-San Marcos. She is a licensed professional counselor and a certified licensed professional counselor supervisor. For more on Coffee-Fletcher, see her bio.