The Healthy Transitions Initiative is a SAMHSA-funded program that is geared toward supporting
Transition Age Youth (TAY) ages 16-25 who have historically “fallen through the cracks.” Many agencies
are not equipped with the tools needed to serve this unique population or meet the diverse needs of
Youth and Young Adults. In many instances, TAY experience a disconnect between the child and adult-
serving systems, making it incredibly difficult to bridge that gap and navigate those systems as
circumstances change, whether that’s turning 18, aging out of the foster care system, moving out of
their homes for the first time, or various other situations. Because most individuals experience the first
of many major transitions in their lives between the ages of 16-25, it is important to have a support
network that understands the specific needs of this group, particularly if they are also juggling mental,
behavioral, or emotional health challenges. The overall objective of this project is to utilize an
innovative, non-clinical approach to serving TAY through community and strength-based approaches.
The team also strives to equip TAY with the tools and information they need to assist with their
transition to adulthood.
The North Carolina Healthy Transitions initiative is currently being piloted in two laboratory counties in
Western North Carolina: Henderson and Buncombe. The initiative has partnered with two local
agencies, Youth Villages and Family Preservations Services, to create a System of Care program for Youth and Young Adults that helps bridge the gaps between the child and adult serving systems. To meet the needs of TAY, Healthy Transitions staff will be trained in the Transition to Independence Process (TIP)
Model, a non-clinical, Evidence-Supported Practice that prepares young people for the transition into
adulthood. Both sites will build a program-specific team that consists of a Site Administrator, a Clinical
Assessor, a Transition Facilitator, a Peer Support Specialist, and an Educational/Vocational Specialist.
Because one of the major goals of Healthy Transitions is to increase the voice and choice of TAY in the
services they receive, participants will be able to choose which components of the program they want to
engage in. A participant can enroll in the services that they feel would help their transition into
adulthood while opting out of activities that do not serve them.
Another major focus of the North Carolina Healthy Transitions Initiative is to increase awareness and
accessible community-based services for TAY throughout the two selected counties. Healthy Transitions
state and local teams will partner with key stakeholders to create non-stigmatizing, trauma-informed
opportunities in the community in order to develop regional expertise for those working with TAY.
Healthy Transitions also emphasizes the utilization of youth and family voices to inform program
development and policies affecting Youth and Young Adults by collaborating with businesses, faith-
based organizations, and other local programs to enhance the capacity of agencies to provide relevant
and effective services for this unique, and oftentimes underserved, population. Stay tuned for additional
updates in future newsletters as Healthy Transitions develops new and innovative opportunities for
Youth and Young Adults!