About Connecting Activities
Connecting activities are the services, accommodations, and supports that help youth gain access to and achieve success within chosen postschool options. Postschool options may include postsecondary education, community service, employment, mental and physical health care, access to transportation, access to financial planning advice and management, and participation in leisure or recreational activities, as well as a number of other adult roles.
Most youth use informal sources of support such as family, friends, community education programs, recreation programs, and employers. Other youth, including many youth with disabilities and at-risk youth, may require assistance and support from public and private organizations, agencies, and programs. Federal and state laws require the provision of individualized services to certain youth, including youth with disabilities, youth in the juvenile justice system, homeless youth, and others. For these youth, receiving appropriate assistance requires service coordination, which is a structured, cooperative effort among organizations and agencies to effectively and efficiently provide services to those who qualify for them.
Organizations and agencies each have a mission and focus for their work and may have specified groups they are legally required to serve, or audiences that they seek to serve. In order for youth to access connecting activities, organizations and agencies must work cooperatively and have clarity concerning their own and each others’ responsibilities for providing services.
National Standards & Quality Indicators
Below are the specific Connecting Activities standards and indicators. See also Introduction to the National Standards & Quality Indicators
5.1 Organizations coordinating services and supports align their missions, policies, procedures, data, and resources to equitably serve all youth and ensure the provision of a unified flexible array of programs, services, accommodations, and supports.
See Supporting Evidence & Research
- 5.1.1 At the state and community levels, public and private organizations communicate, plan, and have quality assurance processes in place within and across organizations to equitably support youths’ access to chosen postschool options. Each organization has clear roles and responsibilities, and ongoing evaluation supports continuous improvement.
- 5.1.2 Organizations have missions, policies, and resources that support seamless linkages and provide youth with access to needed services and accommodations.
- 5.1.3 Organizations provide, or provide access to, seamlessly linked services, supports, and accommodations as necessary to address each youth’s individual transition needs.
- 5.1.4 Organizations have implemented an agreed-upon process to coordinate eligibility and service provision requirements, helping youth to participate in the postschool options of their choice.
- 5.1.5 Organizations have shared data systems in place, or have established processes for sharing data, while fully maintaining required confidentiality and obtaining releases as needed. These systems include provisions for collecting and maintaining data on postschool outcomes.
5.2 Organizations connect youth to an array of programs, services, accommodations, and supports, based on an individualized planning process.
SeeSupporting Evidence & Research
- 5.2.1 Organizations inform all youth about the need to plan for the transition from high school, and the programs and services available to them.
- 5.2.2 Organizations use an interagency team process to share decision-making with youth and families, linking each youth to the services, accommodations, and supports necessary to access a mutually agreed-upon range of postschool options.
- 5.2.3 Youth report satisfaction with the services, accommodations, and supports received as they connect to chosen postschool options.
5.3 Organizations hire and invest in the development of knowledgeable, responsive, and accountable personnel who understand their shared responsibilities to align and provide programs, services, resources, and supports necessary to assist youth in achieving their individual postschool goals.
See Supporting Evidence & Research
- 5.3.1 Personnel (e.g., general and special education teachers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, service coordinators, case managers) are adequately prepared to work with transition-aged youth, understand their shared responsibilities, and use coordination and linkage strategies to access resources, services, and supports across systems to assist youth in achieving their postschool goals.
- 5.3.2 Organizations hire well-prepared staff; provide ongoing professional development; and have a set of common competencies and outcome measures that hold personnel accountable for their role in ensuring that youth are prepared for, linked to, and participating in activities that will assist them in achieving their postschool goals.
- 5.3.3 Youth and families report satisfaction with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of personnel they encounter in collaborating organizations during the transition process.
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