DCF is committed to providing adolescent services that encourage positive youth development and empowerment. The Adolescent Services Unit at DCF Central Office provides programming and support to all youth 14 and older that are in the Department's care and custody. The Department encourages youth to take an active role in all aspects of planning for services. In addition, the adolescent outreach unit provides training to DCF staff around educational opportunities for youth and training on how to increase young peoples’ independent living skills, by training staff on how to run their own PAYA groups.

Through many different opportunities and programs, adolescent services offer support and understanding as well as information and opportunities for growth. There is a variety of programs and events for youth. These programs include PAYA, an alumni association, a youth advisory board, and events such as an annual youth summit, and regular graduation dinners. DCF also has many opportunities for peer support and leadership. These experiences provide youth with a chance to make new friends, learn from one another and share with each other what it's like to be in agency care. Youth report back to the Department that these activities help them recognize their own strengths, increase their self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment.

This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.