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Adolescents having a conversation.

Massachusetts is committed to providing services for the positive development and empowerment of its young people. That’s why the Adolescent Services Unit at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) supports youth 14 years old and older who have been moved from their homes to DCF’s care and custody.

Several programs exist to help these adolescents overcome obstacles and transition into adulthood with the knowledge and skills to succeed:

Discharge Support

The Discharge Support Program provides financial and outreach support to young adults ages 18-21 years old who are transitioning from DCF care to a home of their own. Support may include assistance with first and last months’ rent, a security deposit, and initial utilities charges.

To find out more about the program, contact your local DCF office and speak with an Outreach Social Worker.

Teen Living Program

A collaboration between the DCF and the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), the Teen Living Program supports teenagers who are facing pregnancy and parenting issues. The initiative provides teen parents with safe housing and teaches young mothers the skills they need to be able to live independently.

Outreach Program

Outreach Workers help adolescents develop healthy life skills and provide information on topics such as relationships and sexuality, permanency planning, and how to maintain a positive self-image.

For referral to the Adolescent Outreach Program, please contact a local DCF office.

Post Secondary Education and Vocational Training Support

DCF helps transition-age youth obtain post-secondary education and training via state and federal grant and assistance programs. These students are provided with specialized on-campus and community support for financial planning, housing, academic, and social needs.

Youth Mentoring Program

Community members can make a difference in a child’s life by volunteering with DCF. The Youth Mentoring Program helps adolescents succeed in their transition to adulthood by offering positive guidance and support.

If you are interested in becoming an adult mentor or to make a referral to the mentoring program, please call 617-748-2421.

Youth Advisory Board

The DCF Youth Advisory Board is made up of adolescents in out-of-home placement services who share ideas, concerns, and recommendations for improving DCF services.

The Youth Advisory Board meets monthly in five different regions. If you are interested in joining the board, contact your local DCF office for the next scheduled meeting in your area.

Massachusetts has many resources dedicated to developing and improving the lives of youth in DCF’s care and custody. The agency works to help empower youth and give them the opportunity to gain independence and succeed as they transition into adulthood.

How do you provide positive support and outreach to adolescents? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @MassGov.

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