Our Work – Core Service Areas
Who Does Razing the Bar Serve?
Razing the Bar serves under-resourced transitioned aged youth in Santa Clara County, with a focus on those impacted by the foster care system. Every year, hundreds of youth age out of the foster care system and find themselves unprepared to support themselves in the same way that same-aged youth from more traditional family backgrounds are. This program serves as a bridge between those sorts of social gaps to ensure that the youth don’t find themselves permanently disadvantaged by their upbringing.
What Kind of Support Does Razing the Bar Provide?
- Case Management
- Life and Career Planning
- Mental Health Support
- Credit Repair/Building
- Financial Management
- Homemaking Skills
No Fail Policy
With the collective experiences that the founders of RTB bring to the table, we understand the complexities in serving under resourced youth populations – especially those who’ve aged out of the foster care system. We understand that for many of the youth aging out of the foster care system the separation from their respective families having never being adequately addressed, coupled with constantly having to adapt to new environments, can cause disruptive behaviors and hinder personal growth. We further understand that barring a youth from program services based on behaviors can have lasting a permanent effects on the developing youth. With that in mind, RTB operates on the foundation of a No Fail policy. Although based on participants actions supports may be altered or modified, case management services and support are unwavering once accepted into the program.
In order to ensure the long term growth and development of our program participants, RTB understands the importance of permanent relationships. We further understand that it is the severance of former relationships and the lack of public systems ability to address that void that has left many of the youth we serve longing for permanent connections. With that in mind, the connections that we make with our program participants are permanent. There are no end dates for connections. Further, we’ve incorporated interdependent relationships into our philosophy, and work purposefully to build sustainable and positive relationships among our youth and community. Our goal is to create a permanent, interdependent communities based on common goals, shared experiences and positive, supportive relationships.
Honoring Their Existence
As we prepare our program participants for a successful transition to adulthood, we strive to make the road to their transitions similar to those travelled by their “normalized” counterparts who were not impacted by public dependency systems.
With that in mind, RTB does not provide “on-site” staffing at any of the properties that house our program participants. We want to provide them with the room to grow, the room to make mistakes and, most importantly, the room to learn from those mistakes. To help ensure that program participants remain on track, Case Managers will make weekly unannounced visits to the property. We understand that in order for the program participants to be better prepared for a life of self-sufficiency, they need to learn to be able to make decisions about their own lives autonomously and, more importantly, to live with the consequences of their own decision making.
We do, however, offer on-site support in the form of a Peer Mentors. Peer Mentors are program participants that have demonstrated through their actions that they possess the maturity to fulfill the role. Peer Mentors are trained on how to diffuse and mediate potential situations, as well as how to provide and garner support for program participants. Peer Mentors are available on-site to offer basic assistance, and understand they can reach out to a Case Manager and/or Management if the need arises. Peer Mentors are not paid, but are incentivized with a rental subsidy. Peer Mentors, if interested, are strongly encouraged to apply for RTB staffing positions.
RTB Case Management Services
RTB believes that the relationship between the Case Manager and the Program Participant is a critical component in determining the Participant’s level of success. RTB further believes that without a strong relationship between the Case Manager and Program Participant, growth and development for the Participant is limited, at best.
In order to ensure effective relationships and communication strategies are being employed by RTB Case Managers, management will routinely assess and interview Program Participants to ensure that they are making progress with their respective Plan of Action (POA). Management will also assess Case Managers effectiveness based on performance assessments provided to program participants. To support effective communication and availability, RTB case managers will carry a maximum of ten (10) program participants on their caseloads. Caseloads will be determined based on respective youths’ current capacities and location of rendered services.
Case Managers may play several roles in the lives of the young people, but first and foremost it is as a mentor and ‘life coach’. Case Managers will work with their respective program participants with several ‘general’ goals in mind, and will also work with them on attaining their personal goals. The general goals will include:
- Improving the capacity for the program participant to relate to others, both professionally and personally
- Improve the program participants ability to advocate for themselves
- Establishing, maintaining and improving program participants relationships with family, as appropriate
- Ensuring that program participants are maximizing available resources
- Improving or starting to build credit profiles, and ensuring that participant understands basic banking, credit building and savings strategies
- If program participant is focused on work, assisting them in exploring steps toward self-sufficiency in the respective field/position (including trade schools, apprenticeships, certifications, etc.)
- If program participant is focused on school, helping them make strong connections with academic staff – including counselors, teachers, financial aid advisors, etc., – so that they can more easily navigate the academic institution, and more importantly, take advantage of available resources
- Assisting in the development of permanent relationships
The Case Manager when working with program participants will be committed to having the served youths’ best interest in mind. The Case Manager will avoid advocating on behalf of program participants, when possible, and instead focus on improving said youths’ ability to advocate for themselves. Again, the Case Managers’ primary goal is to improve their assigned participants’ ability to navigate society autonomously, effectively and successfully.
Case management services and supports offered may change based on assessed needs, however, relationships do not. RTB will work diligently with program participants to build permanent, supportive communities that will include both ‘staff’ and ‘program participants’.