Untreated depression and emotional dysregulation among former foster youth (FFY) contributes to higher rates of homelessness, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and imprisonment. In Tier II, this project seeks to strengthen the Health Education Advocates and Research (HEAR) Network established in Tier I by refining roles for the advisory board, adding a mental health professional to the board, and establishing liaison relationships with national networks supporting FFY. Board development will be encouraged in several ways. First, the group will complete Strengthsfinder, a Gallup inventory designed to assess individual strengths with the goal of understanding organizational human assets. Second, based on the results and to promote engagement and communication, three subcommittees will be formed (administrative, partnership outreach, and research) within the board as well as an executive committee. Subcommittees will draft specific workplans and delegate responsibilities supporting the overall goals of the Network.
Tier I funding supported a needs assessment that included 19 key informant interviews with a diverse group of FFY. Interview results were used to develop and rank a list of potential research questions. Tier II funding will support the group in refining those questions, including inviting experts to help assess feasibility and knowledge gaps, and to build a pilot study to inform a fully developed PCORI application. The subcommittee presentations and those invited experts will help us refine the question and likely develop additional questions. A thorough literature review will be conducted to support the question and maximize development of a novel research project.