Implementing Case Management with Positive Youth Development to Empower Young Mothers in California
With funding from the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Division (MCAH) of California redesigned its existing Adolescent Family Life Program (AFLP) for expectant and parenting young women into a more intensive and structured intervention, AFLP with positive youth development (PYD). This paper presents key findings from a federally funded, rigorous implementation study of the two programs.
This implementation study collected data from 13 agencies from January 2016 through December 2017, including interviews with 69 case managers and 18 supervisors; focus groups with 130 program participants; surveys of 66 case managers and 1330 young women; and observations of 42 visits with program participants. The study combined qualitative and quantitative analysis methods.
As designed, PYD was a much more structured and intensive program than AFLP. Case managers and supervisors saw value in the PYD model and new approach but needed more support and guidance than expected in order to deliver it with fidelity. MCAH provided additional trainings and technical assistance to address challenges. In practice, although staff noted differences in approach and content, the youth experience with the two programs was similar.
Integrating the PYD framework into case management systems may foster youth self-sufficiency and resiliency. However, the rigid structure of the program was often challenging to implement in practice. Organizations interested in implementing prescribed case management approaches should consider allowing opportunities for flexibility in implementation and providing more detailed preservice training to prepare staff for real-world implementation.
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