What is TIP?

By:  Gretchen Behimer, Project Director, Clermont FAST TRAC

In this issue of the FAST TRAC newsletter, the TIP program is highlighted.  The TIP program is for transition-aged youth, ages 16-21, to help them transition to adulthood with the skills necessary to be a productive member of our community. 

We know that “most 18-year-olds coming from intact families can expect emotional and financial support for years to come; in the U.S. the average age a young person with support leaves home is age 25.” (Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta website)  Many of the youth in “the system” have been in “the system” for many years, sometimes almost their entire lives.  The youth often have mental health challenges and have experienced childhood trauma. So, how can we expect youth aging out of the system to turn 18 with the skills necessary to live on their own, find a job, access services and be successful? 

We need to support these youth as they transition to adulthood and this is exactly what the TIP program does.  The TIP program follows the System of Care philosophies of youth-guided care, individualized care, utilizing natural supports, community-based care, culturally & linguistically competent care, strength-based care, and least restrictive care.  

Many of the youth currently in the TIP program have been in residential care and foster care for many years.  The transition to making their own decisions, learning to live on a budget, making meals, appropriately maintaining a living space and searching for and maintaining a job is not easy for anyone their age, especially those who may not have someone close to them that they can really talk to.  TIP offers the youth a person to support them through the learning process and cheer for them when achieve the goals that they have set for themselves.  To learn more about the TIP program, please take a look at Greg Pratt’s article.