How does this curriculum address the needs of youth in foster care and juvenile services group homes?
Power Through Choices was developed not only for but also with youth in out-of-home care. By involving the young people themselves in the development of the curriculum, PTC is able to frame the lessons through a lens that is unique to their experiences growing up. In this way, the curriculum is much more responsive and sensitive to the realities of their lives. From filling in the gaps in reproductive health education that result from inconsistent educational experiences, to addressing the lack of trust of adults, to helping them navigate the complexities of relationships in the absence of healthy role models, the PTC curriculum is designed to meet these youth where they are. For more information, read about our approach to comprehensive sex education.
How is presenting a sexuality education curriculum to youth in foster care different than presenting to students in a school classroom setting?
The primary difference is related to the prevalence of histories of abuse. Young people in foster care are more likely to have been subjected to sexual abuse, and although the curriculum specifically states that it deals only with consensual behaviors, facilitators must be aware of, and be prepared to respond to, a couple of possibilities: 1) that a young person may be triggered by topics that come up or discussions that occur, and/or 2) that histories of such abuse may impact the ways that young people navigate relationships and sexual decision-making. Methods for addressing both possibilities are explored in the Power Through Choices Training of Facilitators.
Can the sessions be delivered once a week instead of twice a week?
While the PTC curriculum can be implemented on a once-a-week schedule, we don’t recommend it. Meeting only once a week requires that youth be engaged for 10 weeks total. And whether implementing in a group home or a community-based setting, youth are more likely to complete all ten sessions if they occur over a period of 5 weeks instead of ten. To better understand this recommendation, read our research.
Are there particular skills needed by facilitators working with this youth population?
Facilitators who are successful working with youth in out-of-home care possess, first and foremost, a sincere positive regard for and natural rapport with young people who struggle with a myriad of challenges. Without that affinity and rapport, it would be impossible to build the relationships with youth that are the necessary foundation of the work. Additionally, facilitators of this curriculum must be comfortable speaking openly and clearly about human sexuality, including answering sensitive questions in a way that makes the young people feel heard and accepted. The Power Through Choices Training of Facilitators covers topics such as answering sensitive questions, facilitating with awareness of population-specific issues, and classroom management techniques for working with groups that may include individuals with behavioral challenges.
Are two facilitators necessary to present the content?
Using a team of two facilitators serves two purposes. First, when working with young people who may have been victims of sexual abuse or rape, as well as youth who struggle to define appropriate boundaries, it is important for the safety of the youth and of your staff that no adult be left alone with a youth at any time (also covered in the Power Through Choices Training of Facilitators). Additionally, utilizing a team of two facilitators allows the team to better reflect the potential diversity of the youth being served. Which is why we recommend teams be comprised of at least one female and one male, as well as facilitators from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds. Our belief is that it is important that each youth be able to see someone at the front of the room that they feel represents them.
Does the content address Basic and/or Independent Living Skills subjects for youth in system care?
Yes. In addition to health promotion, the curriculum addresses healthy relationships, positive communication techniques, building skills to access community resources, and exploring issues of trust and appropriate boundaries. Read more about our comprehensive curriculum.
Can I purchase a copy of the curriculum?
We are only able to provide the curriculum manual to those who attend a Power Through Choices Training of Facilitators.