The Connections Project is a 5 year federal research demonstration project which uses a relationship focused approach to improve the well-being of foster, runaway, homeless and exploited youth.

The Connections Project's one-on-one coaching and wellness classes are based in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Harm Reduction (HR).


  • Youth who are subjected to trauma are more susceptible to high-risk behaviors and experience unhealthy social bonds in adulthood

who we serve

  • Consenting current and former foster youth
  • Ages 17-21

a solution

  • A focus on building relational competencies can reduce high-risk activities and improve social connections
  • Healthy bonds will result in greater resiliency, empathy, and emotion regulation
  • This leads to a greater sense of well-being, increased contribution to family and community, and decreased reliance on public resources

what we do

  • Train staff to work with youth to increase relational competencies and manage crisis
  • Current and former foster youth advise staff in development and implementation of project
  • Foster youth co-facilitate wellness classes centered on mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation
  • Assist youth in navigating complex relationships through one-on-one coaching

Our Approach: C.A.V.E.

  • Compassion
  • Awareness
  • Validation
  • Empowerment

Our Impact

  • Increased number of positive relationships
  • Decreased number of negative relationships
  • Improvement in healthy development and resiliency
  • Reduction in high-risk behaviors