Courageous Connection

About This Program

Target Population: Middle school and high school aged foster youth and foster parents

For children/adolescents ages: 11 – 18

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 11 – 18

Program Overview

The Courageous Connection program is designed to make the administrators, teachers, and other staff members at schools more aware of the foster youth population enrolled and how to better serve these youth. The program also works directly with the youth to provide peer tutoring, peer support, authentic relationships, and access to normalizing activities while focusing on improving the youth’s grades, attendance, and behavior.

Program Goals

The goals of Courageous Connection are:

  • Educate teachers and administrators on how to better focus on and serve the foster youth population
  • Build and nurture authentic lifelong relationships with youth
  • Provide access to normalizing activities for foster youth while in school
  • Improve the educational, social, and emotional outcomes for youth in foster care
  • Involve caregivers more in the educational life of the youth in their homes as well as provide extra support for those caregivers when dealing with the unique issues that arise with foster youth

Essential Components

The essential components of Courageous Connection include:

  • Intended for individuals involved in the education of foster youth:
    • Youth are supported by individuals at the school site that are aware of their unique situations.
    • Youth are supported by their foster youth peers at their individual school sites.
    • School personnel are educated on the foster care system and the youth that it affects within their classrooms and campuses.
    • School personnel are provided support and direction on implementing successful school based programs for foster youth.
    • Caregivers are provided support and better information on the education system and how to best navigate through the education of their youth.
    • Other agency personnel are provided support and collaborative opportunities with the education system that teaches the youth they serve.

Program Delivery

Child/Adolescent Services

Courageous Connection directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:

  • The social, emotional, and educational issues that arise from youth being in the foster care system
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: The program works directly with the other agencies involved in the lives of the foster youth in an attempt to eliminate the communication gaps between the different agencies and use the school system as a single point of service.

Parent/Caregiver Services

Courageous Connection directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • The problems and communication gaps between caregivers and the school system as well as training and support in dealing with youth in foster care

Recommended Intensity:

At least once per week is optimal

Recommended Duration:

The entire length of a youth’s school career

Delivery Setting

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • School


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

An empty classroom or meeting area and at least 1 staff member willing to work with the youth.

Education and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Practitioners must be willing to be provided with training on how to look at and use school data to better serve the youth they are serving, how to recognize the unique situations of youth in foster care and be willing to foster authentic and individual relationships with youth.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program , and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

On site

Number of days/hours:

Varies per school site

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Courageous Connection.

Additional References

Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., & Elias, M. J. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58(6/7), 466-474. 

Jones, M., & Abdulmalik, H. (2011) The Courageous Connection toolkit and administrative guide. Elk Grove, CA: Courageous Connection.

Osterman, K. (Fall 2000). Students' need for belonging in the school community, Review of Educational Research, 70(3), 323-367.

Contact Information

Mike Jones, MST
Agency/Affiliation: Courageous Connection
Phone: (916) 477-0890

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: October 2013

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2012

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: April 2012