In YTP’s Curriculum Development program, youth trainers learn the art and science of writing compelling curricula, and then design training modules for child welfare professionals.
In phase one, under the mentorship of professional instructional designers, youth trainers learn the essentials of curriculum development, including how to:
- Assess trainee needs
- Identify competency areas
- Work with different learning styles
- Develop meaningful training activities
- Encourage transfer of learning
Youth trainers then apply these new skills to designing specific training modules for child welfare professionals. The curriculum for each module emerges through many hours of brainstorming, group work, review, and revision. Consistent with any professional training, each hour of training may take more than eight hours of development time.
Regardless of the specific training module, all courses are built with input from current and former foster youth and child welfare professionals. Moreover, all training modules incorporate five broad competency areas:
- Cultural and developmental needs (i.e., knowing what’s important to foster youth and understanding priorities of transition-age youth)
- Relationship building and communication skills
- Resource knowledge and experiential learning skills
- Compassion and understanding of the foster youth experience
- Sensitivity and cultural competence in working with parenting youth, youth with mental health issues, and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender youth
The curriculum development teams are paid for their work.
Once developed, the curriculum is delivered by the youth trainers to child welfare professionals. Multiple independent evaluations show that these trainings help the professional audience to be more effective in understanding and supporting foster-age youth.