Two adults and a teenager holding a basketball representing Parent Youth Facilitation, a strategy to keep families together

Parent/Youth Facilitation

A facilitation process for older youth (14+) and their parents or caregivers to help resolve conflicts within the family and identify helpful community services and supports.

What is Parent/Youth Facilitation?

Parent/Youth Facilitation is a two-pronged approach to preventing entry into care of older youth by

  1. Using a facilitation process to help families resolve conflict and arrive at appropriate decisions that best fit their unique needs, and
  2. Connecting families to community services and supports.

What is the eligibility criteria for families to participate in Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Youth is 14-17 years old
  • Concerns exist that youth may be at risk for removal into foster care
  • Families reside in pilot counties: Saline and Wyandotte

What is the cost?

Parent/Youth Facilitation is provided at no cost to families who qualify through referral from community service organizations to the local prosecutor’s office. 

What are the system-wide goals of Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Decrease the number of older youth entering foster care
  • Keep youth with their families whenever possible and appropriate
  • Decrease the number of youth aging out of foster care

How do eligible families access Parent/Youth Facilitation?

Referrals come from community agencies to the county/district attorney who determines eligibility. Families choose whether they participate. Referring agencies may include the Department for Children and Families, community based providers, law enforcement, schools, juvenile intake

Who facilitates Parent/Youth Facilitation sessions?

Facilitators are Kansas-Approved Parent-Adolescent Mediators who have specialized training and experience working with families and adolescents.

Parent-Adolescent Mediation has been shown to be an effective way for families to address issues of daily living that may include curfew, school attendance and performance, choice of friends, household responsibilities and similar situations. 

Why participate in Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Parent/Youth Facilitation helps young people and their families resolve conflicts by reducing tensions, improving communication, and creating better understanding among family members.
  • It allows for equal input from family members to decide how their dispute will be resolved.
  • Facilitation tends to be short-term and focuses on resolving current issues and planning for the future. Facilitation is not counseling and is not intended to replace counseling or therapy.
  • Facilitators are Kansas-Approved Parent-Adolescent Mediators who have experience working with families and teens. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including law, education, human service professions, clergy, public administration and other areas.

What are the focus and goals of Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Parent/Youth Facilitation helps families resolve conflicts of everyday living. At the same time, it lets parents and young people learn new ways of handling strong emotions of family conflict.
  • Example topics include: school attendance and performance, curfew and social life, household responsibilities, and privacy and communication.
  • A goal of PYF is to develop a mutually agreed upon solution as a family.

What happens during a Parent/Youth Facilitation Session?

First, a Parent/Youth Facilitation coordinator speaks individually with youth and their parent(s). The coordinator provides information about the process; gains an understanding of the family’s issues; and, with the family, makes an assessment to decide whether facilitation is appropriate.

A joint session is then arranged for both the parent and youth to meet with the facilitator. The facilitator guides the family to identify issues; explore options that work for them; encourage productive communication; and, ideally develop an agreement.

What is the eligibility criteria for families to participate in Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Youth is 14-17 years old
  • Concerns exist that youth may be at risk for removal into foster care
  • Families reside in pilot counties: Saline and Wyandotte

What is the cost?

Parent/Youth Facilitation is provided at no cost to families who qualify through referral from community service organizations to the local prosecutor’s office. 

What are the system-wide goals of Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Decrease the number of older youth entering foster care
  • Keep youth with their families whenever possible and appropriate
  • Decrease the number of youth aging out of foster care

How do eligible families access Parent/Youth Facilitation?

Referrals come from community agencies to the county/district attorney who determines eligibility. Families choose whether they participate. Referring agencies may include the Department for Children and Families, community based providers, law enforcement, schools, juvenile intake

Who facilitates Parent/Youth Facilitation sessions?

Facilitators are Kansas-Approved Parent-Adolescent Mediators who have specialized training and experience working with families and adolescents.

Parent-Adolescent Mediation has been shown to be an effective way for families to address issues of daily living that may include curfew, school attendance and performance, choice of friends, household responsibilities and similar situations. 

Why participate in Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Parent/Youth Facilitation helps young people and their families resolve conflicts by reducing tensions, improving communication, and creating better understanding among family members.
  • It allows for equal input from family members to decide how their dispute will be resolved.
  • Facilitation tends to be short-term and focuses on resolving current issues and planning for the future. Facilitation is not counseling and is not intended to replace counseling or therapy.
  • Facilitators are Kansas-Approved Parent-Adolescent Mediators who have experience working with families and teens. They come from a variety of backgrounds, including law, education, human service professions, clergy, public administration and other areas.

What are the focus and goals of Parent/Youth Facilitation?

  • Parent/Youth Facilitation helps families resolve conflicts of everyday living. At the same time, it lets parents and young people learn new ways of handling strong emotions of family conflict.
  • Example topics include: school attendance and performance, curfew and social life, household responsibilities, and privacy and communication.
  • A goal of PYF is to develop a mutually agreed upon solution as a family.

What happens during a Parent/Youth Facilitation Session?

First, a Parent/Youth Facilitation coordinator speaks individually with youth and their parent(s). The coordinator provides information about the process; gains an understanding of the family’s issues; and, with the family, makes an assessment to decide whether facilitation is appropriate.

A joint session is then arranged for both the parent and youth to meet with the facilitator. The facilitator guides the family to identify issues; explore options that work for them; encourage productive communication; and, ideally develop an agreement.

Resources

Project Information

  • Parent Youth Facilitation is one strategy of Kansas Strong for Children and Families.

  • Principal Investigator: Becci Akin

  • Co-Investigator: Kaela Byers

  • Project Manager: Sarah McCall

  • Dates: October 2018-September 2023

  • Funder: Children’s Bureau, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, grant number 90-CO-1139

The Need

  • Kansas is the 8th highest nationally in youth aging out of foster care without a a permanent family. Most of these youth entered care at age 15-17.

  • Kansas’ removal rate is the 13th highest in the nation, and the number of children in foster care increased 44% since 2011.

Group of young adults smiling and happy

Mobilizing service providers, courts, and child welfare stakeholders

Parent/Youth Facilitation is a process that engages community supports to help families arrive at decisions that best fit their unique needs

Parent/Youth Facilitation Process

  1. Human service providers refer families in need of service to prosecutors. Service providers might include Department for Children and Families, community-based providers, law enforcement, schools, juvenile intake.
  2. Prosecutor refers eligible families to PYF process. 

  3. The family chooses whether they participate in PYF.

  4. If the family chooses to participate in PYF, the facilitator arranges for a meeting with the family members

  5. All parties work together to

    • Devise a written agreement between the parent and youth to prevent the youth from entering foster care and

    • Identify service needs to support the family.

  6. The facilitator ensures that the family has referrals for the service needs identified within the agreement.

  7. The family receives their agreement and the Summary Report is given to the prosecutor and referring agency.


Key Collaborators

Court collaboration was made possible by the Kansas Supreme Court Task Force on Permanency Planning, the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration, and the Kansas Court Improvement Program.

Kansas Strong for Children and Families

Kansas Strong for Children and Families

Parent/Youth Facilitation is one strategy of Kansas Strong for Children and Families, a federally-funded initiative that aims to support Kansas child welfare as a collaborative, data-driven system that achieves positive outcomes for children’s well-being, safety, and permanency.

Learn more about Kansas Strong