Domus created the family advocate model because we recognize that in order for our young people to gain the academic skills necessary to obtain permanent employment and have productive, satisfying lives, they must overcome many non-academic barriers. These youth don’t get what they need to be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy from their communities and extended adult networks (including their families, extended families, and social institutions like schools and churches). Therefore, it’s impossible for them to engage and succeed in school, further limiting their skills, knowledge, and opportunities. They either start behind or fall behind, and once that happens, they do not get what they need to catch up, and they continue to fall further and further behind. This creates a vicious, generational cycle of poverty and despair that prevents them from having satisfying and productive lives.
The goal of the family advocate model is to end this cycle by removing the non-academic barriers to academic success that make it so difficult for the most disconnected, disengaged young people to get on the path to leading satisfying, productive lives.
Through ongoing case management services, social and emotional learning opportunities, and assessment, goal setting, and plan development, family advocates specifically help our young people:
- improve school attendance
- build social and emotional skills
- improve behavior
The family advocate model was first used in our juvenile justice center back in the mid- to late 1990s and was used in a school setting for the first time in 1999 with the opening of our first school, Trailblazers Academy.