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Youth in Transition Toolkit:

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Key elements of the Framework

Guiding principles

A circular graphic depicting Minnesota's Youth In Transition Framework. The words 'Youth in transition' are in the center, surrounded by four overlapping circles. The four circles contain the words: Best Life, Outcomes: Use skills to envision and advocate for their best life. Independent Living, Outcomes: Successfully live as independently as possible. Employment, Outcomes: Find competitive, integrated work they enjoy. Postsecondary Education and Training, Outcomes: Obtain industry-recognized credentials. Surrounding the four circles are the words: learning expectations, guiding principles, and shared practices. Guiding principles is highlighted.The Framework’s guiding principles are the beliefs that guide decisions at the system, agency and professional level. They serve as the foundation for what we do and how we do it.

The Framework’s guiding principles are:

1. The youth is at the center of transition planning.
2. Families play a key role in successful transition outcomes.
3. Transition planning should start early in a youth’s life.
4. High expectations matter.
5. Strong partnerships support a smoother transition to adulthood.
6. Success is measured by improved youth outcomes.

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The youth is at the center of transition planning.

Minnesota's Youth In Transition Framework shares the same guiding principles as person-centered planning:

  • Student driven. Youth are experts in their own lives and as such, should drive the planning process. The youth’s desires are heard, honored, valued and reflected in their services.
  • Choice and self-determination. Youth are the ones who make choices about services, supports and daily life (with support if needed or wanted).
  • Interests, strengths and abilities. Everyone has unique interests, skills and abilities that can be built upon to help them reach their potential and create a positive and meaningful life.
  • Community inclusion. Youth in transition should have equitable opportunities to participate in all aspects of daily life. Inclusion means that a person has the same rights, access and choices as anyone else. It means people with disabilities are treated with dignity and respect and feel truly welcomed and valued in the community.
  • Availability of services and supports. Youth must have access to individualized services that meet their particular needs.
  • Student driven: The youth participates in planning meetings and leads these meetings when possible. The youth helps identify the people they want to participate in conversations and planning and those people are included in the planning process. We must listen for what's important to and important for the youth to create the life they want.
  • Choice and self determination: We will support youth to build self-awareness, know their rights, understand their options, make informed choices, and advocate for what they want. For more information, check out the Informed Choice toolkit.
  • Interests, strengths and abilities: We will help youth discover their unique skills and abilities. Once their strengths are known, we will support them to build on those strengths. By focusing on strengths rather than deficits, we can set a positive culture that elevates a youth's potential.
  • Community inclusion: It’s our job to not only provide inclusive services, but to help the youth and families we support to envision and build lives where they are fully included in their communities. Our programs and services will be culturally responsive, incorporate principles of universal design and take place in the most integrated environments. 
  • Availability of services and supports: In transition planning, we will view services and supports in the context of what it takes for a youth to have the life they want. The youth and their support team will identify effective support and services that will help them live, learn, work, and participate in the ways they want. Support and service planning will not be driven by professional opinion or limited service options.

To learn more about applying person-centered principles in your work, check out the Framework's shared practice: person-centered practices

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Families play a key role in successful transition outcomes.

Families are the best partners in building successful transition outcomes. In fact, family involvement is a measurable predictor of success. Nobody knows a youth better than the youth and their families. Families play a valued and essential role in making sure transition plans reflect a youth's interests and future goals.

We will engage families early to discover their dreams and concerns for their youth's future, and to understand how to best support them. We will honor the family's wealth of knowledge and the key role they play in a youth's life.

To learn more, check out the Engage families section in this toolkit, including a Get ready section that outlines new perspectives on family engagement.

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Transition planning should start early in a youth's life.

Under law, transition planning must be in place by 9th grade. However, transition planning is a lifelong process that begins well before 9th grade.

To build a richer transition planning experience, we will work to incorporate the concept of planning for adulthood into each stage of a child’s life, aligning efforts across programs and grade levels. This encourages youth and their families to work toward a vision for an inclusive, meaningful life after school.

To learn more, check out the using a lifespan approach section in the YIT toolkit.

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High expectations matter

Expectations are contagious. A youth’s aspirations are influenced by what others communicate about what’s possible.

In our work we will tune into our own thinking—are we inadvertently making assumptions that place limitations on a youth’s possibilities for the future? We will lead with a spirit of optimism and a focus on the possibilities, helping youth and their families see what can be achieved with the appropriate opportunities and supports. We will help youth and their families set a big vision for the future.

To learn more, check out the setting high expectations section of this toolkit.

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Strong partnerships support a smoother transition to adulthood.

Successful transitions take a collection of committed partners working together within and across systems and agencies. Some needs can be met through informal resources, while others call for a range of services and supports. Either way, strong person-centered informal and formal partnerships support better outcomes.

At both the state and local level, we will look for ways to:

  • Build a better experience for youth and their families
  • Coordinate and align services and supports
  • Identify and address gaps in services
  • Share and leverage learning, best practices and resources
  • Promote efficient service delivery
  • Foster shared expertise

Learn more about our work to create strong partnerships at the state and local level in the E1MN partnership section of this toolkit.

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Success is measured by improved youth outcomes.

Ultimately, high-quality transition planning is measured by its ability to help youth reach their goals (not by how coordinated systems are or how collaborative teams are). We all want youth to have better lives, not just better plans. Learn how the Framework defines improved youth outcomes.

We will use evidenced-based practices and measure individual outcomes, analyzing data along the way to continually improve and adapt efforts. At all levels (state, regional, district, school and individual student level), we will look to data to tell us what's working and what's not, and we will leverage and share promising practices.

Check out the professional resources section of the this toolkit to learn more about data-driven practices, and to access data and reports for transition age students and recent graduates in Minnesota.

Next: Learning expectations »