The Youth Thrive Coaching Tool is one of many resources for implementing the Youth Thrive Initiative developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The purpose of this Coaching Tool is to give supervisors key questions, guidance, and ideas about how to help workers assess and support Protective and Promotive Factors with youth. It reinforces and puts into action the Youth Thrive Framework and training content. See the sidebar (to the right on this page) for guidance on using the Coaching Tool and other related materials.

Supervision and coaching are vital opportunities to build workers’ skills. Supervisors can use this Tool to apply the Youth Thrive Framework to specific youth and tailor service plans to each young person’s unique situation. The Tool is designed for supervisors who are coaching direct service staff who in turn work with young people. And, there are ideas and activities in the Tool that can be useful to other positions and for learning activities at youth-serving organizations more broadly. A key value of the Tool is the importance of listening to and partnering with youth in setting goals, developing plans, and partnering with family, friends, and other supportive adults.

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How to Use the Tool (and how not to use it)

When workers implement Youth Thrive strategies, they make changes in their day-to-day interactions with young people that shift how youth experience and benefit from services, build connections, and access resources. The Coaching Tool can be used:

  • In individual and/or group supervision (see Guide for where to start)
  • In conjunction with other supervisory models or approaches
  • As part of training and professional development (see 10 Coaching Questions)
  • In public agencies, non-profit and community-based organizations—any place that provides youth services
  • When you need suggestions for what to do when a worker is stuck

The Youth Thrive Coaching Tool is not a checklist. It is not realistic nor workable to address every item with every worker for each youth.  What it does provide is many ideas that respond to supervisors’ requests for help using the Youth Thrive framework and training content in regular supervision with direct service staff. For each Factor, you will find questions to help understand what is working well for youth and what is not, followed by a lot of options to help youth achieve their goals. As supervisors, we hope you get familiar with the layout and content of the Tool and then use the sections that are most relevant for a specific youth’s situation. See the Guide, in the sidebar, for some ideas where to start. 

The Tool is not designed to be used in time of crisis. If a youth is in crisis, supervisors and workers should adhere to their organization’s crisis management procedures and policies and (re)turn to this Tool after the crisis is addressed.

How the Tool is Organized

The Tool is organized by the five Protective and Promotive Factors that are the heart of the Youth Thrive Framework. These Factors are based on developmental and neuroscience research about what all adolescents need as they grow into adulthood. Strengthening these five Factors is intended to reduce risk, increase well-being, and help young people reach their goals.

Youth Resilience

Start with or focus on Resilience if youth is…

  • About to make a decision.
  • Preparing for a major change or new opportunity.
  • Experiencing a failure or setback.
  • Re-evaluating past choices.
  • Changing goals or plans.
  • Setting a new path.
  • Stressed out or frustrated.
  • Afraid to make a mistake.

Definition of Resilience is the process of learning to…

  • Manage stress and function well even when faced with problems, setbacks, and tough or disappointing situations.
  • Understand effects of trauma and stress on individual development and on communities, such as the effects of racism or other discrimination.
  • Cope with reminders of past traumatic or negative experiences.
  • Find ways to heal, take care of self, and dream for the future.
  • Grow from mistakes, anticipate and deal with unexpected challenges, and take positive advantage of opportunities.

Key Questions to Help Assess and Plan with Youth

  • Can youth talk about their own strengths and skills?
  • Does youth express feelings of hope and optimism?
  • Has youth been able to learn from past experiences?
  • Is youth able to solve problems? Ask for help when needed?
  • Does youth show persistence and determination when times are tough?
  • Is youth willing to try new things and take positive risks?
  • Does youth take advantage of new opportunities?

Actions to Take: Workers Supporting Youth

  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses on resilience and identify patterns, opportunities, or issues based on youth’s responses. Also look for any questions youth skipped on this factor or rated higher or lower than other items. These could be items for discussion and planning.
  • Talk to youth about resiliency: what it means, when they have felt resilient, when they haven’t, and how they responded.
  • Be positive and non-judgmental in supporting youth to learn from experiences and keep going even when things get tough or may not go their way.
  • Help youth think through and anticipate upcoming challenges and opportunities—what can go right or wrong and how to handle those situations.
  • Validate positive problem-solving and lessons learned from experiences.
  • Express confidence that youth can build capacity to face life challenges.
  • Ask youth to tell you what they need and help them ask for help from others, such as: family, friends, other caring adults, programs, or community resources.
  • Carefully explore youth’s past traumatic experience. Reflect on impact of feelings and behaviors. Develop strategies for managing the range of their reactions.
  • Help youth understand that growth and learning can happen as a result of mistakes, setbacks, and even failures.
  • Create a safe space for youth to talk about negative feelings, such as anger, loneliness, frustration, and depression. Work together on ways to manage these emotions.
  • Encourage self-care activities that reduce stress and promote relaxation and reflection. Build on what youth like to do to relax. Share what you or others do to relax.
  • Plan ahead with parents, caregivers, and other supportive adults for appropriate responses when youth mess up or make a poor decision.
  • Help identify consequences that make sense for youth’s specific circumstances and do not unfairly penalize or alienate youth.

Actions to Take: Supervisors Coaching Workers

  • Model a positive, non-judgmental, open, and curious approach to supervision and coaching.
  • Help workers learn from their own experiences that did not go well and how they can apply those lessons to their work with youth.
  • Facilitate conversations about the meaning of resilience—what it means to workers and how they can assess and build youth’s resilience.
  • Lead discussions to identify specific ways workers can support resilience in youth. Share successful strategies.
  • Suggest proactive strategies workers can use with youth to help them cope with difficult situations, hard emotions, or new opportunities that in the past resulted in unproductive or problematic behaviors.
  • Practice or role play difficult conversations. Check in on youth’s goals and progress. Ask if this a time to make a change in plans.
  • Prioritize activities, places, and people that help youth succeed.
  • Explore what workers think might be undermining youth resilience. Could it be from: separations, loss, and unresolved grief; stressful relationships; depression; family or community violence; substance abuse?
  • Take time to validate workers’ own resilience when faced with stress and challenges.
  • Share options and provide opportunities for self-care that gives workers a chance to relax, reflect, and regulate their own feelings. Model how workers can support self-care with youth and others.

Knowledge of Adolescent Development

Start with or focus on Adolescent Development if youth is…

  • Curious, confused, or ready to learn about physical and emotional changes.
  • Dealing with emerging sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Becoming or already sexually active.
  • Wants to understand their own and/or their peer’s feelings, behaviors, moods, and actions.
  • Would benefit from knowing more about major growth and changes in the brain and the impact of those changes.

Definition of Understanding Adolescent Development

  • Gaining knowledge about how the brain changes during the teenage years.
  • Growing self-awareness and ability to reflect on own behavior, identity, and relationships.
  • Able to talk with family members, friends, workers, and others in their support networks who understand past and current behavior.
  • Can manage opportunities and challenges.
  • Learning and practicing self-regulation skills and planning for the future.

Key Questions to Help Assess and Plan with Youth

  • Where is this specific youth at developmentally? (See Stages of Adolescent Development Chart in Youth Thrive Trainer Guide, p. 31)
  • Does youth know about and understand the developmental changes that occur in adolescence? Including physical, emotional, sexual, and brain changes?
  • Is youth able to talk about and respond to accurate information and support for their sexual development, gender identity, sexual orientation, and reproductive health?
  • Does youth have a developmentally appropriate understanding of healthy relationships? Do they understand the concept of consent and how it applies to sexual interactions?
  • Can youth identify their unique strengths and needs? Can youth share their specific goals, problems, or challenges?
  • Does youth like themselves?
  • If they have a disability, do they understand and have support for accommodations they need?
  • Does youth understand and have an opportunity to talk about the impact of race, class, culture, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and cultural background on their overall development, identity formation, and self-esteem?
  • Is the youth involved in dangerous risk-taking behavior?
  • Does youth have an evolving sense of moral development and an understanding of right from wrong?
  • Is youth learning self-advocacy skills? How to speak up for themselves, express their opinions, and get their needs met?
  • Does youth have opportunities to learn and practice life skills to prepare for the transition to adulthood? 
  • What is youth’s understanding of their education and career opportunities for the future? 
  • Does youth feel supported in setting and achieving goals?
  • Does youth have interests in learning new things? What are these interests?
  • Is youth involved in community activities, places, or groups that are important to them?

Actions to Take: Workers Supporting Youth

  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses on adolescent development and identify patterns, opportunities, or issues based on youth’s responses. Also look for any questions youth skipped on this factor or rated higher or lower than other items. These could be items for discussion and planning.
  • Engage youth as partners in case planning and decision-making process and encourage youth to practice speaking up to get their own needs met.
  • Share youth-friendly developmental charts and information related to neuroscience and adolescent growth and development.
  • Help youth reflect on how they see themselves as an adolescent. Talk with them about what is going on in terms of physical changes, peer relationships, new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • Make sure youth have opportunities to learn about sexuality, birth control and reproductive health, and safer sex from healthcare providers, school, or community groups.
  • Work with health, mental health, and education providers to assess for developmental milestones. Identify successes, delays, or concerns.
  • Discuss the types of consistently nurturing relationships and supportive experiences youth need to enhance overall growth and development.
  • Plan for how permanent family (broadly defined) can support their growth and security over time.
  • Talk about race, racism, and other forms of discrimination they may have experienced.
  • Ask about what they know and how they feel about their own cultural identity and interests they have in learning about different cultures in their community and beyond.
  • Carefully explore youth experiences with trauma and its potential impact on their development.
  • Take advantage of “teachable moments” to reflect on and normalize risk-taking behaviors, consequences, and lessons learned.
  • Help connect youth to pro-social risk-taking opportunities, for example: trying out for a school play or sports team.
  • When youth mess up, ask why and listen for reasons that may be clues to understanding for workers and youth. Interpret less and listen more.
  • Be aware of how you, family members, or other caring adults may overreact when youth exhibit typical adolescent behavior or test limits. Bee careful that youth are not inappropriately punished for normal adolescent risk-taking.
  • Suggest ways to connect youth with opportunities for normal adolescent activities within family or group care placements at school, work, and in the community, such as: getting a driver’s license, overnight stays with peers, vacations with foster families, employment, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Engage youth in conversations about life skills they have, want, or need to learn, such as: personal hygiene, finances, meal preparation, and transportation. Link these conversations to youth’s case planning. Use life skills resources in your area.

Actions to Take: Supervisors Coaching Workers

  • Review and discuss new research on how the brain develops through adolescence into early adulthood, and how trauma impacts development and adolescent behaviors. (See Trainer Guide brain development resources, p. 34)
  • Evaluate worker’s knowledge and address gaps in their understanding and comfort level in assessing youth’s developmental status, needs, and progress.
  • Use “Once Upon a Time When I was an Adolescent” Tool in Trainer Guide (p.29) to build empathy for issues faced by today’s adolescents.
  • Support workers in finding restorative and non-punitive means for reacting to problematic adolescent behavior or limit testing.
  • Explore how development varies within different cultures. Model cultural competence and humility in facilitating case reviews and discussions.
  • Discuss developmental challenges of youth and brainstorm potential solutions.
  • Find and share community resources that reflect and support specific racial, cultural, ethnic, religious, LGBTQ+, or other identities and affiliations.
  • Facilitate role playing with workers to practice having conversations with youth about developmental needs, including youth with developmental delays or disabilities.
  • Set up a virtual or physical place for sharing up-to-date resources on adolescent development, the impact of trauma, and the process of healing, for example: a bookshelf, social media group, webpage, or on-line forum.

Social Connections

Start with or focus on Social Connections if youth is…

  • Ready to connect/reconnect with family members and other supportive adults.                                                                      
  • Lonely or does not have people they can count on.
  • Struggling with friendships.
  • Wanting to understand past relationships and their own history.
  • Needing an active network of people who supports them beyond workers and programs.

Definition of Social Connections

  • Having healthy, supportive, and committed relationships with people who support their growth and development.
  • Able to sustain connections with family (broadly defined), siblings, relatives, friends, peers, other caring adults, and community members.
  • If youth chooses to, participates in a faith community and/or has a connection to a spiritual force.
  • Feeling included, supported, cared about, and loved by family (broadly defined) and/or other valued people and connections.

Key Questions to Help Assess and Plan with Youth

  • Who are the people in this youth’s given and chosen family? What is the current status of these relationships?
  • Does youth have a network of social supports and a sense of connectedness? Are there people this youth can count on?
  • Does youth have friends?
  • Does youth feel a sense of belonging? 
  • Who are their important community, adult, peer, and professional supports?
  • Does youth talk about feeling lonely, not supported, disconnected, or isolated?
  • Is youth interested in being connected to a faith-based organization (church, mosque, synagogue) or another spiritual community?
  • Is youth involved in community service, advocacy, or activism?

Actions to Take: Workers Supporting Youth

  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses on social connections and identify patterns, opportunities, or issues based on youth’s responses. Also look for any questions youth skipped on this factor or rated higher or lower than other items. These could be items for discussion and planning.
  • Invite conversations with youth about what social connections mean to them and the benefits of having positive relationships for emotional, informational, concrete, and spiritual support.
  • Use a genogram and/or ecomap to create a picture or diagram of youth’s family and social network. Identify strengths and challenges.
  • Use the case planning process to build positive relationship skills, such as listening, communicating, problem-solving, and decision-making.
  • Help youth reflect on their current relationships and identify people who really care about them, listen to them, and who they can count on through good and bad times, who encourage them to do their best, are not judgmental, and can accept them for who they are and what they have experienced.
  • Identify people who youth can be with for holidays and special occasions.
  • Help youth find, reach out, and engage with family members who may have lost contact with them.
  • Minimize the number of moves and disruption to routines and supports that youth experience, especially for youth in foster care. 
  • Brainstorm with youth strategies for building and sustaining relationships and how to practice these skills, such as patience, listening, respect, open communication, problem-solving, managing disagreements, and reciprocity.
  • Explore with youth how they can establish boundaries with people who are stressful or problematic. Help them prepare for difficult conversations.
  • Involve youth in identifying key members of their formal and informal social networks—family members, caregivers, teachers, peers, clergy, community members, parents of friends—who can be part of their network and help them set and achieve goals.
  • Connect youth with activities in neighborhood-based and/or youth-led civic groups.
  • Provide opportunities for youth to connect and hang out with siblings and friends.
  • Explore youth’s interests and connect them to programs where they can meet others with similar interests.
  • Assess how youth have helped other people in the past and ways they are helping people in their social networks now and in the future.
  • Explore how youth are involved or could become involved in making the world a better place (advocacy, activism, community service).
  • Help youth identify and address problems (anxiety, depression, anger) that may be barriers to developing positive social connections.
  • Ask youth to help plan ways to bring their friends, family, and other important people together for fun celebrations and activities, as well as family team meetings and case conferencing.

Actions to Take: Supervisors Coaching Workers

  • Promote positive social connections among staff within your department or agency and with other youth-service organizations.
  • Discuss the importance of relationships in supporting developmental and human needs  and what this means to workers.
  • Consider the impact of racism, sexism, and other biases on relationships in their specific community context.
  • Have conversations about places where youth form positive social connections and build bridges to those places.
  • Help workers reflect on stages of relationship-building and skills needed to maintain healthy relationships, such as patience, listening, respect, open communication, problem-solving, managing disagreements, and reciprocity.
  • Reinforce how relationships may be different for youth who experienced early and ongoing trauma or who come from difficult backgrounds.
  • Have workers review youth’s genogram and ecomaps during individual or group supervision.
  • Discuss youth’s networks and whether people provide positive or stressful experiences and how to strengthen/improve connections.
  • Explore how workers can help youth establish boundaries with people who are stressful or problematic.
  • Establish procedures and make sure workers are conducting extensive family finding and engagement activities, including mining the case record, on-line searches, and talking with family members and others who know the youth’s history.
  • Reflect with workers on barriers youth may experience in building supportive family, peer, and community social networks.
  • Maintain up-to-date and comprehensive directories of youth serving organizations, groups, and resources.
  • Brainstorm how workers might support and/or join with youth to build new social connections with peers and supportive adults.
  • Explore how workers can support youth when they experience problems with peers, such as bullying, break-ups, discrimination, or social media harassment.

Concrete Support in Times of Need

Start with or focus on Concrete Supports if youth is….

  • In need of specific or significant services, supports, and/or opportunities.
  • Getting started or new to working with you.
  • Frustrated with current providers. Has unmet needs or gaps in services.
  • Wants to and is ready to get their life organized.
  • Definition of Concrete Support in Times of Need
  • Necessities everyone needs and deserves to grow and thrive such as: food, housing, income, education, physical and mental health care.
  • Specialized services that meet individual needs or specific circumstances, such as tutoring, accommodations for disabilities, and legal services.
  • Are strengths-based, developmentally appropriate, and high quality.
  • Are respectful of youth’s race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, abilities, and family history.
    Concrete Supports is also about youth learning to…
  • Identify and advocate for their own needs and navigate service systems.
    Understand their rights to access services and that seeking help is a sign of strength.
  • Speak-up for themselves and be treated with dignity.

Key Questions to Help Assess & Plan with Youth

  • Are youth’s needs being met? Does youth have access to all basic resources for daily life such as: healthy food, transportation, clothing, laundry, bank account, cell phone, and internet?
  • Do they have consistent access to a doctor and dentist, mental health and wellness, school, housing, and legal and employment services?
  • Does youth know about community resources and the ability to participate in activities/programs based on their own interests, goals, and talents? Examples: recreation, arts, physical activities, leadership opportunities, and work experience.
  • Does youth have skills to ask for help and navigate service systems? Are they able to stand up for themselves? Are they encouraged to practice self-advocacy skills?
  • Is youth involved in making decisions, planning, and problem-solving to get their needs met? Do they have “voice and choice” in setting goals, including their own case plan?
  • Does youth have opportunities to advocate for change?  Be an activist? Participate in community service or other volunteer activities?
  • Is youth pregnant, expecting, or parenting a child? How are their basic needs as young adults and as parents being met? Do they have supports needed for their child?

Actions to Take: Workers Supporting Youth

  • Make sure youth and parents/caregivers have key documents and a safe place to keep them, such as: birth certificate, ID, voter registration, immigration, and legal documents.
  • Make sure youth and parents/caregivers have important contact information in their phone and backed-up somewhere safe, such as: names, telephone numbers, emails and street addresses, and websites for providers.
  • Explore the variety of concrete services and supports in place or needed to address youth’s individual situation. Ask if the services and supports are culturally responsive, welcoming, and comfortable for this youth.
  • Make sure youth with disabilities have appropriate access and all necessary accommodations.
  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses on concrete supports and identify patterns, opportunities or issues based on youth’s responses. Also look for any questions youth skipped on this factor or rated higher or lower than other items. These could be items for discussion and planning.
  • Help youth practice strategic sharing so they are comfortable talking about their history, situation, and any medical, mental health, or education needs.
  • Ask youth if they experience racism or other discrimination/bias in the services they receive. Encourage youth to reflect on positive and negative experiences with providers and community resources.
  • Support youth to practice help-seeking skills and reinforce that asking for help is a strength.
  • Help youth make plans for handling emergencies that might arise.
  • Role play interactions and decision-making with youth, for example handling problems with school or work, family and peer relationships, and personal challenges.
  • Teach youth skills to stand up for themselves when they are treated unfairly.
  • Review lessons learned during self-advocacy experiences and next steps.
  • Help youth navigate complex systems, such as: eligibility requirements, health insurance, finding and filling out forms, going to important appointments with them.
  • Provide opportunities for youth leadership and service in places such as: schools, youth advisory boards, and civic and community groups.
  • Help youth practice skills needed in daily life, such as: using public transportation, grocery shopping, preparing a meal, doing laundry, and managing money.
  • Talk to youth about their educational experiences—what they like/dislike and why; any accommodations necessary to meet their individualized educational needs and support their ability to be their best.
  • If the youth is also a parent, help them identify and meet the concrete needs of their young children.

Actions to Take: Supervisors Coaching Workers

  • Role play ways workers can engage youth as partners in case planning and at meetings to address their specific concrete needs.
  • Engage in anticipatory planning and problem-solving.
  • Consider if youth have too many services or not the right ones.
  • Talk about race and racism. Brainstorm how workers can address systemic racism and biases in services or supports.
  • Ask workers to share effective strategies to increase youth’s willingness to seek support.
  • Provide time for the workers to visit or get to know resources in the community, preferably by going with youth to community organizations and programs.
  • Help workers explore barriers youth face and work through issues that might affect youth’s follow-through with recommended services.
  • Personal issues, such as: depression, unresolved grief, anxiety, lack of family/adult support, bad prior experiences, and fear.
  • Logistical issues, such as: transportation, money, and scheduling.
  • Accessibility issues, such as: physical or mobility barriers, language, and technology.

Cognitive & Social Emotional Competence

Start with or focus on Cognitive & Social-Emotional Competence if youth Is…

  • Dealing with emotional or behavioral issues, such as anger or sadness.
  • Excelling or struggling with school, work, plans and goals for their future.
  • Questioning their changing roles and responsibilities.
  • Ready for new experiences and challenges.
  • Concerned about events and/or interested in activism in their community.
  • Wants help managing different social situations.

Cognitive & Social Emotional Competence

  • Dealing with emotional or behavioral issues, such as anger or sadness.
  • Excelling or struggling with school, work, plans and goals for their future.
  • Questioning their changing roles and responsibilities.
  • Ready for new experiences and challenges.
  • Concerned about events and/or interested in activism in their community.
  • Wants help managing different social situations.

Definition of Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence

  • Developing a mix of skills and attitudes that are essential to forming an independent identity.
  • Thinking and communicating clearly.
  • Having personal agency.
  • Able to understand one’s own feelings and empathize with other people.
  • Dreaming and planning for a happy future.
  • Accessing resources and opportunities necessary to transition from adolescence to adulthood—and beyond.

Key Questions to Help Assess and Plan with Youth

  • Does youth have opportunities to be involved in planning and decision-making for themselves? And to learn and practice those skills?
  • How is youth doing in school? At work?
  • Is youth able to set goals? Follow through with next steps? Achieve what they want?
  • Does youth have capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness?
  • What is youth’s level of executive functioning and critical thinking abilities?
  • Does youth have social skills to handle different kinds of situations and people?
  • Is youth in touch with their own feelings?
  • Does youth have capacity to understand other people’s feelings and perspectives? Do they have empathy and compassion for others?
  • Is youth able to manage behaviors and regulate emotions?
  • How is youth most comfortable communicating with others? How do they like others to communicate with them? How do they handle feedback, praise, or criticism?
  • If youth is also a parent, how are they addressing the cognitive and social-emotional development of their child?

Actions to Take: Workers Supporting Youth

  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses on cognitive and social-emotional competence and identify patterns, opportunities, or issues based on youth’s responses. Also look for any questions youth skipped on this factor or rated higher or lower than other items. These could be items for discussion and planning.
  • Look at Youth Thrive Survey responses related to cognitive and social-emotional skills and see if there are issues or opportunities that arise from that information.
  • Talk with youth and with youth’s permission, reach out to their parents, caregivers, service providers, and other supportive adults to get to know how youth is currently doing and their capacity for self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-regulation.
  • Look for signs of trauma in youth. Are they withdrawn, easily angered, erratic, unable to concentrate, or unusually sad over periods of time?
  • Explore how youth manage feelings of anger, what makes them angry, what they do when they feel angry, how can they manage anger and other painful emotions.
  • Help youth understand what happened to them and how to heal from past experiences and trauma. Consider working with them to create a Life Book or video that documents their history.
  • Get youth the help they need to address separation, loss and unresolved grief, especially when they face changes or transitions.
  • Monitor how youth are doing in school and be aware of any learning disabilities. Make sure youth are getting necessary tutoring or other accommodations so that they can stay in school and meet expectations.
  • Give youth opportunities to learn, practice, and master cognitive and social-emotional competencies, such as planning, organizing, problem solving, reasoning, managing feelings, thinking about the future, and reflecting on their experiences.
  • Encourage youth to practice speaking up for what they need and believe—even if other people do not agree with them.
  • Support the role of parents, caregivers, and other adults in nurturing and guiding youth as they gain greater independence, build skills, and form their identity.
  • Find opportunities for youth to pursue their personal interests and talent, such as academic skills, performing and creative arts, sports, volunteering, leadership, outdoor adventures, child care—whatever they love to do.
  • Help young parents understand their own cognitive and social-emotional development, as well as that of their child(ren).

Actions to Take: Supervisors Coaching Workers

  • Review the “Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence Characteristics Worksheet” (YT Trainer Guide, p.107)
  • Ask workers to summarize youth’s developmental status and progress over time including cognitive and social-emotional strengths and gaps, as well as other developmental areas.
  • Discuss family and placement history. Help worker to prepare youth to understand what happened in their past.
  • Talk about how public agencies, schools, and other service providers responded to this youth and their families’ needs.
  • Ensure that the agency has policies and procedures in place to maintain continuity and stability in the youth’s educational plans if they enter foster care or change placements.
  • Be sure that workers can attend and support youth in activities and at events that are important to them (games, concerts, time with brothers/sisters, or friends) where youth can interact in normal and fun ways.
  • Identify when and where youth can shine and engage their families, parents, siblings, and other supporters in recognizing, celebrating, and enjoying their unique talents.

Protective and Promotive Factors Consultation Form

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Protective and Promotive Factors

Social Connections: healthy, supportive, and caring relationships with adults and peers; engagement in school and community; positive social networks and natural supports (teams, mentors, neighbors, coaches, faith-based groups); healthy boundaries; opportunities to give back.

Concrete Supports: access to basic resources and supports (housing, income, food, health care, employment, transportation, legal); has needed records & documents; resourceful and able to navigate systems and access services.

Resilience: confidence, self-awareness and self-compassion; problem-solving; personal responsibility, coping strategies and ability to recover and grow from setbacks; future-orientation.

Cognitive and Social-Emotional Competence: ability to regulate emotions and control impulses; critical-thinking, planning, and decision-making; conflict resolution; communication skills; positive outlook.

Please remember: The information you put in this form will not be saved on our website. Therefore, all information will be lost if you close this browser window. Use the “SAVE TO PDF” button download onto your computer.


Special thanks to Sarah Greenblatt for creating this Tool. The Coaching Tool was reviewed by young people who have lived experience in foster care and other service systems. It was piloted by several supervisors at youth-serving organizations in New Jersey, specifically Acenda, Multicultural Community Services, and Four Oaks. We are grateful for youth and staff input and feedback that improved these materials.