Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.)

About This Program

Target Population: Youth ages 18-21 who are currently living in out-of-home child welfare placements (e.g., foster care, group homes, residential care)

For children/adolescents ages: 18 – 21

Program Overview

Caring Adults '˜R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) is a 12-week natural mentoring intervention designed to address social support needs of youth preparing to exit foster care by facilitating and strengthening naturally occurring relationships and supporting the development of growth-fostering relationship between them and their self-selected natural mentors (i.e., helpful nonparental adults from within the youth's social network). Prior to enrollment in C.A.R.E., a master's-level social worker referred to as an interventionist meets individually with the youth in an effort to identify an appropriate natural mentor. Once the natural mentors have been screened and approved, they undergo a trauma-informed training. During the 12-week intervention, youth and their natural mentors participate in a variety of group activities as well as supportive one-on-one sessions with the interventionist designed to strengthen and clarify expectations surrounding the natural mentoring relationship. Additionally, the foster youth and natural mentor dyads are expected to meet a minimum of 2 hours per week for unstructured dyad "match" time, during which they can work on life skills and engage in other enriching community-based activities. Aftercare/booster sessions are available following the 12-week intervention.

Program Goals

The goals of Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) are:

  • Produce significant improvements in foster youth's noncognitive abilities including grit, resilience, future expectations, and emotion regulation and self-control
  • Produce significant improvements in foster youth's prosocial development including sense of school membership, life skills, peer relationships, mental health, and engagement in health risk behaviors
  • Produce significant improvements in foster youth's future outcomes of educational achievement (e.g., completion of a high school degree or GED), employment, homelessness, use of government benefits, and criminal justice behavior/involvement

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.).

Essential Components

The essential components of Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) include:

  • Pre-Intervention Work
    • Assessing the youth's permanent connections
    • Screening & background checking natural mentors
    • Training Natural Mentors (lasts approximately 6 to 8 hours)
      • Icebreaker/introductions
      • Adolescent development
      • Understanding how the child welfare system works
      • Trauma-informed natural mentoring
      • Practices of effective natural mentors
      • What should we do?
      • Establishing & maintaining boundaries
      • Wrap-up
    • Facilitating Development of Growth-Fostering Relationships Between Youth in Care & Their Natural Mentors
      • Orientation to C.A.R.E. for youth & natural mentors
      • Permanency pact
      • Weekly supervision of dyads
      • Separate monthly informal support groups for youth & natural mentors
      • Up to 2 group field trips
      • Casey Life Skills
      • Affect regulation training/mindfulness (using Koru)
      • Video portraits
      • Celebration
    • Aftercare/booster sessions

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • Lack of sufficient social support networks and relationships with caring, supportive adults
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: A Master's level interventionist meets individually with youth participants in an effort to identify an appropriate natural mentor. The interventionist screens and approves the natural mentors and provides the mentors a trauma-informed training to help them better understand adolescent development, the role of trauma and loss in the lives of youth in foster care, the importance of self-care, and the expectations associated with being a natural mentor. During the 12-week intervention, the interventionist meets weekly with the dyads to support the relationships, and the interventionist also facilitates a support group for the natural mentors participating in C.A.R.E. The natural mentors also meet weekly in the community with their youth mentees.

Recommended Intensity:

One-time 6-hour natural mentor training, weekly 1-hour supervision sessions among the MSW interventionist and dyads, weekly 2-hour community time between the natural mentors and youth mentees, monthly 1-hour informal support group, weekly 1-hour mindfulness sessions delivered over 4 weeks, and two 4-hour group field trips.

Recommended Duration:

12 weeks

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider


Caring Adults 'R' Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) includes a homework component:

Each week, the dyads are required to meet together in the community for at least 2 hours, and during this time, the natural mentors provide hands-on life skills training for the youth mentees (e.g., budgeting, cooking, apartment searching) as well as opportunities for engagement in activities in the community.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

MSW interventionist and MSW program coordinator per 15 youth, private office space for supervision sessions, conference room for training and group activities, computer, internet, and phone

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Both the interventionist and program coordinator must have a master's degree in social work (MSW) or equivalent degree.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

Training is obtained from Dr. Johanna Greeson, the developer of C.A.R.E. and can be provided either onsite or in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

Number of days/hours:

One day; 6-8 hours

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Greeson , J. K., & Thompson, A. E. (2016). Development, feasibility, and piloting of a novel natural mentoring intervention for older youth in foster care. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(2), 205–222.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 24


  • Age — 18-20.5 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% African American
  • Gender — 50% Male and 50% Female
  • Status — Participants were youth aging out of the child welfare system.

Location/Institution: Not stated

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This study tests the feasibility of implementing C.A.R.E. and the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled study with older foster youth at risk of aging out of care. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention (n =12) or control groups (n=12). Measures used were the Mindfulness for the Next Generation, Children and Youth Resilience Measure, Noncognitive Abilities 12-item Grit Scale, Emotional Regulation Questionnaire, Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale, Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire, 20-item Mental Health Index, Perceived Future Opportunities Scale, Youth Mentoring Survey (YMS), and the Relational Health Indices (RHI). Results support the continued refinement, delivery, and rigorous testing of C.A.R.E. for programmatically supporting natural mentor relationships among youth aging out of foster care. Additionally, results suggest that the execution of a randomized control trial is feasible within a child welfare setting and among older foster youth. Two thirds of the intervention youth in the study were able to identify caring adults in their lives whom they felt could be their natural mentors. Limitations include small sample size, generalizability of the results due to ethnicity and gender of participants, and lack of follow-up.

Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

Greeson, J. K. P. (2014). C.A.R.E.: A natural mentoring intervention for older youth in foster care. Author.

Greeson, J. K. P., Thompson, A. E., & Kinnevy, S. (2014). Natural mentoring of older foster care youths. Social Work Today, 14, 11-13.

Contact Information

Johanna K. P. Greeson, PhD, MSS, MLSP
Title: Assistant Professor
Agency/Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania
Department: School of Social Policy & Practice
Phone: (215) 898-7540
Fax: (215) 573-2099

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: January 2017

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2018

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2016