by Janine LeSieur, California Department of Social Services

Wraparound has always played an important role in supporting the transition of youth from group homes to a family-based setting. With California’s Continuum of Care Reform came the push to limit the use of congregate care and ensure that treatment of these youth with complex needs was short-term and provided in therapeutic settings. This led to the development of Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTP). Those group homes not transitioning to become an STRTP are being phased out, leaving many California youth without an identified placement. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) recognized the need and is currently developing a program to help address this important issue.

The Active Supportive Intervention Services for Transition (ASIST) program is a short-term intervention designed to provide targeted transition and specialized permanency support for these children. The CDSS will partner with children, youth, Non-minor Dependents, families, counties, Wraparound agencies, group homes, and tribes to support youth with their transition to home-based settings. All County Letter (ACL) 19-53 outlines the history of the ASIST program and defines its requirements for participation.

The ASIST program extends additional funding to eligible counties who choose to participate in the program. The following counties have opted-in to the program: Butte, Kings, Merced, Monterey, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Tulare and Yolo. ASIST supports extensive family finding, engagement, specialized permanency services, child-specific, field-based training and in-home support through high-fidelity Wraparound services or other intensive permanency-focused transition support services. ASIST is a short-term intervention designed to provide targeted transition. It is important to note the ASIST program does not replace existing Wraparound programs or other intensive supportive transition programs. Instead, it augments existing services to provide extensive direct services, resources and activities required to support children, youth and NMDs in transitioning from congregate care to home-based care.

The ASIST program provides monthly webinars, which include training from experts on subjects such as Permanency, Child Specific Recruitment and Coaching. There are also monthly child-specific consultation calls, which will include a team of subject matter experts. For more information about upcoming webinars, please direct your questions to wraparoundquestions@dss.ca.gov.

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