Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.)
About This Program
Target Population: Adolescents and young adults, 12-23 years old, who are in foster care or in transitional living
For children/adolescents ages: 12 – 23
Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) is a trauma-informed peer grief support program designed to address both death and non-death losses experienced by adolescents and young adults (ages 12–23) in foster care. L.Y.G.H.T. is a youth-led and youth-driven program facilitated by supportive adults who work within the child welfare system. Participants meet biweekly to engage in discussions and provide peer support in navigating the myriad of issues they have experienced during and after removal from their homes and placement into foster care. Participation in L.Y.G.H.T. groups is voluntary, and participants are grouped by age (teens and young adults) and supported by two trained adult facilitators. The topics for discussion are generated by the participants, prioritizing peer support and fostering a sense of shared understanding. The program does not follow a fixed curriculum, allowing for a flexible and participant-driven approach.
The goals of Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) are:
- Normalize and validate physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual responses to loss (or losses) experienced
- Build and increase social connections and peer supports
- Increase well-being, including feelings of hopefulness and self-worth
- Experience a safe environment of collaboration, mutuality, empowerment, and choice
- Welcome each other, invite inclusivity, and recognize cultural differences
- Support one another through listening and encouraging personal empowerment
View the Logic Model for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.).
The essential components of Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) include:
- Creating a peer-based environment where adolescents and young adults in foster care can listen to and lead conversations related to:
- Normalizing and validating the responses to death and non-death losses that youth in foster care experience:
- Providing a grief-informed environment that encourages:
- Peer support
- Personal empowerment
- Fostering a trauma-informed environment designed to provide:
- Peer support
- Collaboration and mutuality
- Culturally responsive and inclusive practices
- Promoting healthy development in adolescent and young adulthood; including increased:
- Social support
- Child welfare staff and community partners
- Trained by L.Y.G.H.T. program staff on:
- Grief-informed practices
- Essential skills of facilitation for group delivery
- Service Delivery Method:
- Peer grief support groups composed of:
- Two trained adult facilitators (Lead and Co-Facilitator)
- Groups of 2–10 adolescents or young adults (12–23 years old)
- Sessions are:
- Held bi-weekly (every other week)
- 90-minutes in length
- The program is not time-limited; participants can remain in the program for as long as they choose while in foster care or until they age out of the program
Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) directly provides services to children/adolescents and addresses the following:
- Loss and grief, hopelessness, low self-worth, and lack of social support
One 90-minute, bi-weekly (every other week) session
Participants can remain in the program for as long as they choose while in foster care or until they age out of the program
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
- Group or Residential Care
This program does not include a homework component.
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Trauma-informed designated room for group delivery as described in the program manual
- Trained adult facilitators (2)
- Program supplies (e.g., furniture, stationary, coloring supplies, snacks, etc.)
- Facilitator Manual
Manuals and Training
Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications
Prospective facilitators are current staff or community partners of child welfare community sites who have no conflict of interest with any of the participants in the group. Successful completion of the L.Y.G.H.T. Facilitation training is required, but there are no minimal educational requirements for attending the facilitator training.
There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.
- Dougy Center. (2019). The L.Y.G.H.T. Program: Facilitation manual. Author. The National Grief Center for Children & Families.
Manuals are provided to trained L.Y.G.H.T. community sites upon completion of the mandatory training.
There is training available for this program.
- Monique B. Mitchell, PhD, FT
phone: (503) 836-3645
Onsite at the trainee’s organization (or local area)
Number of days/hours:
Facilitator: 3 days for a total of 16.5 hours of training time – 21 hours in total including breaks. Both facilitators for a group need to have completed the facilitator training, but they do not need to attend the training at the same time.
There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.).
Formal Support for Implementation
There is formal support available for implementation of Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) as listed below:
L.Y.G.H.T. program staff provide ongoing program support meetings to all L.Y.G.H.T. facilitators actively delivering the program. Program support meetings are mandatory video conference calls and are held in-between every group session offering. The specific role of program support meetings is to ensure fidelity to the model and to provide mentorship and support for the facilitators after they have held a L.Y.G.H.T. group session. As the program offers open group sessions where participants can attend as needed, the program support meetings occur as long as the program is being delivered by the agency.
There are fidelity measures for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) as listed below:
Facilitators complete a self-report survey after each group session which is used to assess the level of practitioner adherence to the program model and to help facilitate the program support meetings. The self-report surveys are not publicly available.
Mitchell, M. B., Schuurman, D. L., Shapiro, C. J., Sattler, S., Sorensen, C., & Martinez, J. (2022). The L.Y.G.H.T. program: An evaluation of a peer grief support intervention for youth in foster care. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-022-00843-7
Implementation Guides or Manuals
There are no implementation guides or manuals for Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.).
There are no studies of the costs of Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.).
Research on How to Implement the Program
Research has not been conducted on how to implement Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.).
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being
Mitchell, M. B., Schuurman, D. L., Shapiro, C. J., Sattler, S., Sorensen, C., & Martinez, J. (2022). The L.Y.G.H.T. program: An evaluation of a peer grief support intervention for youth in foster care. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-022- 00843-7
Type of Study:
Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 42
- Age — 12–16 years
- Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
- Gender — 27 Female, 14 Male, and 1 Nonbinary
- Status — Participants were youth residing in three separate foster care group homes.
Location/Institution: A Southeastern state
(To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of a newly developed peer grief support program, the Listening and Led by Youth in Foster Care: Grief, Hope, and Transitions (L.Y.G.H.T.) program, for youth in foster care. Participants were randomly assigned to either the L.Y.G.H.T. program or a waitlist control group. Measures utilized include the Children’s Hope Scale, the Inventory of Social Support, the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Weekly Facilitator Survey, and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Self Report (SDQ). Results indicate that social support, hopefulness, and self-worth increased, and total problems remained the same for youth in the L.Y.G.H.T. program. Large effects were found for L.Y.G.H.T. helpfulness, a trauma-informed program environment, and reduction in perceived problems. Limitations include small sample size, lack of generalizability to other geographical range of participants and youth in foster care residing in other types of residences (e.g., foster homes), and only a few selected variables could be assessed during the weekly survey such as five items from the standardized SDQ scale.
Length of controlled postintervention follow-up: 6 weeks.
Kuit, N., & Ryke, E. H. (2021). A rapid review of non-death bereavement interventions for children in alternative care. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 40(1), 29–41. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-021-00757-w
Mitchell, M. B. (2017). “No one acknowledged my loss and hurt”: Non-death loss, grief, and trauma in foster care. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 35(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-017-0502-8
Mitchell, M. B. (2020). Non-finite and cumulative loss in foster care. In D. L. Harris (Ed.), Non-death loss and grief: Context and clinical implications (pp. 147–156). Routledge.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2022
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: August 2023
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: August 2023