How Can Youth Voice Create Trauma-Informed Discharge Practices?

This tip sheet was developed to help and encourage providers to embrace the value of youth voice in discharge planning procedures as a form of trauma-responsive practices to further create a trauma-informed system of care. If you are a provider of child welfare services, family member, caseworker, CASA worker, attorney, ad litem or judge, you may want to share this resource with current members and future team members involved in a youth’s care.

Youth voice is a principle that incorporates a youth’s voice as an equal member in all treatment decisions. Youth voice has been found to be a vital and important part of treatment to assist with engagement in services, adaptive learning skills and enhancing internal strengths. Currently, there is limited information on the best ways to incorporate youth voice into transition and discharge planning within a trauma-informed lens. To assist with gaining additional information in this area, two Upbring residential treatment centers surveyed 75 youth and summarized the themes of their voiced preferences for inclusion of youth voice in discharge planning. In addition, the information was applied to creating a procedure to help set up more structure with an individualized focus on each youth’s voice and needs when needing to have discussions about discharge planning. The goal is to have a trauma-informed system of care that is trauma-sensitive and trauma- responsive in working with youth and families that have experienced trauma.

When youth voice is incorporated in all aspects of their care, youth are more motivated in reaching their goals, invested in connecting with caring adults and their surrounding support system, express more satisfaction with services and feel more hopeful about their future.

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