Transitional Age Youth
(TAY) & Mental Health
Goal: To create a developmentally competent mental
health program for vulnerable TAY, specifically those
leaving the child welfare and the juvenile justice
TAY face difficult challenges in adolescence & often lack
supportive/protective factors that aid in successful transitions into
TAY leaving child welfare and juvenile justice systems experience high
rates of homelessness, unemployment, unplanned pregnancies,
mental health disorders, and low educational attainment (Courtney,
Dworsky, Lee, & Pollack, 2007)
The United States Government Accountability Office (2008) reported
that over 2.4 million or 6.5% of young adults between the ages of 18
and 26 had a serious mental illness in 2006.
Social Work Relevance
Grant addresses the gap of mental health coverage
TAY experience when services provided through child
welfare & juvenile justice systems end.
Social workers need to be proactive in reaching out to
TAY since they are at higher risk to re-enter the child
welfare system as parents or the adult justice system.
Advocating for improved mental health services for a
population of youth that are greatly underserved.
Cross-cultural Relevance
TAY in the California child welfare systems are
disproportionally African American, where African
American children represent 6% of the population
but are 13% of the children in the child welfare
system (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Children’s Bureau, 2009).
TAY involved in the California juvenile justice
system are disproportionally African American
(26%) and Latino (52%) (State of California
Department of Justice, 2011)
Target Population: Orange County Conservation Corp’s (OCCC)
program participants including: former foster youth, gang involved
youth, youth leaving juvenile/adult justice systems, parenting youth,
high school drop outs, & homeless youth.
Funding Source Strategies: OneOC (Non-profit Consulting group),
online foundation directory.
California Wellness Foundation selected for matching goals & grant
Needs Assessment Sources: County of Orange Community
Indicators report (2010)
Budget Approximated at $113,500 and includes: Program director &
psychiatrist salaries, program supplies, office supplies, and
operational costs.
Summary: To enhance services to the OCCC, which
provides job training, work experience, high school
diploma opportunities, case management, and access
to supportive services for TAY. The new program would
add a developmental and culturally competent mental
health component to address emerging mental health
issues & promote protective factors for TAY struggling
with the transition into adulthood.
Sustainability: This program would be funded for the
first 3 years through the California Wellness
Grant Proposal:
Objectives & Evaluation
To promote the coping skills, social support, and
psychological protective factors needed for TAY to
become successful and self-sufficient adults. This
program has three components: (a) Group Therapy, (b)
Individual Therapy, and (c) Psychiatric Services.
Internal program evaluations utilized incorporating the
Life Worth Living and Quality of Life Index & the Modified
Global Assessment of Functioning (M-GAF) (Hall, 1995;
Rakfeldt, 2003).
Lessons Learned
Creating a grant that addressed two different
populations proved to be difficult when making the
literature review cohesive.
Very little research on mental health and emerging
Collaboration with the non-profit, proved rewarding
as it served to educate staff on the developmental
and mental health needs of the population they
County of Orange. (2010). Orange County 2011 community indicators. Retrieved from
Courtney, M. E., Dworsky, A., Lee, M.S., & Pollack, H.
(2007). When should the state cease parenting?
Evidence from the Midwest study. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall Center for Children at the
University of Chicago.
Hall, R. (1995). Global assessment of functioning: A modified scale. Psychosomatics, 36, 267-275.
Rakfeldt, J., & McGlashan, T. H. (2004). The nature of the prodrome in schizophrenia. In W. S. Stone, S. V.
Faraone, & M. T. Tsuang (Eds.), Early clinical intervention and prevention in schizophrenia (pp.
75-91). Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.
State of California Department of Justice. (2011). Juvenile justice in California 2010. Retreived from:
United States Government Accountability Office. (2008). Young adults with serious mental illness: Some
states and federal agencies are taking steps to address their transition challenges. (GAO-08-678).
Washington, DC: Author.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau (2009). Child welfare outcomes
2007: Report to congress. Retrieved from http://

Enhancing Mental Health Services for Transitional Age Youth in