The THRIVE! program is inspired by the incredible work conducted by The Homeless Youth Collaborative on Developmental Evaluation’s nine evidence-based, guiding principles to help youth overcome homelessness. These principles begin with the perspective that youth are on a journey, and that youth must be approached as whole-beings through a youth-focused collaborative system of support. These guiding principles are:
- Journey-Oriented – understand the interconnectedness of past, present, and future as youth make decisions regarding their life choices.
- Trauma-Informed – recognize that many youth experiencing homelessness have experienced trauma; this knowledge builds programmatic relationships, responses, and services to be trauma-informed.
- Non-Judgmental – interactions with youth must be without judgment of labeling.
- Harm Reduction – work with the youth to contain the impact of risky behaviors while reducing the impact in the long-term.
- Trusting Youth-Adult Relationships – interact with youth in an honest, authentic, caring, supportive, and dependable way.
- Strengths-Based – always build upon the skills and strengthens of each youth, not the perceived deficiencies.
- Positive Youth Development – provide opportunities for youth to gain power and build a sense of usefulness and belonging.
- Holistic – interact with youth recognizing the interconnectedness of mental, physical, spiritual, and social health.
- Collaboration – establish a youth-centric system of support that integrates practices, procedures, and services within and across agencies, systems, and policies.
These principles have influenced the ways in which THRIVE! staff support and interact with housed youth.
In working with host families, THRIVE! staff gain insight from the Washington State Host Home Coalition, which produced a comprehensive manual focused on best practices to support and engage host families, so they in turn can provide positive environments for the youth. Through their work, the Coalition developed and expanded on six key elements to ensure host home programs are successful: Protection, Education, Inspiration, Communication, Commitment, and Celebration.
THRIVE! staff have used this framework to develop and enhance procedures and protocols to ensure youth and hosts are best served. Through the Coalition’s work, it was found that intensive, wrap-around case management for young people is a critical component for the host home program success. Research has shown that no matter how stable a young person is, the youth and host family must have constant encouragement and support to ensure a safe and affirming environment for all parties.