The CARE Unit (Crossover Advocacy and Resource Effort) is an intensive case management program for foster youth on probation. The primary goal of CARE is to help foster youth successfully navigate and complete their terms of probation by applying holistic social work techniques to engage, support and stabilize the youth. An integrated legal and clinical social work perspective is a unique characteristic of the program.

CARE trains and guides graduate student social workers to serve as intensive case managers for foster youth involved with the delinquency system. Case management consists of weekly contact with clients/caretakers, participating in team meetings, developing partnerships with service providers, attending delinquency and dependency court hearings, and working together with involved agencies, specifically Probation and the Department of Children and Family Services. CARE ensures that youth are linked to resources and addresses any existing gaps in services. Effective communication, empathetic support, and the use of a trauma-focused clinical perspective are significant aspects of the team’s case management model. Ongoing communication with social workers, probation officers, and service providers enables the CARE team to provide updated information and recommendations to both the dependency and the delinquency attorneys so that the attorneys can provide the court with the most current and best information regarding the youth.

The CARE Unit provides dual status youth with a single point of contact who is committed to supporting and guiding them through the dual status systems while completing their terms of probation. This consistent contact allows the youth to gain a better understanding of what they need to do to be successful on probation, while also establishing a relationship with a knowledgeable adult who the youth can call on for help while navigating the two systems. The interns ensure the youth have appropriate educational support, mental health assessments (if needed), independent living skills, and reproductive health/parenting services and support. Transitional age services such as housing, employment and college readiness are provided to older clients. CARE’s holistic, hands-on approach provides these youth with the resources they need to complete probation, and improve long-term positive outcomes for their lives.