Skip to main content

COMPASS Programs

Creating Opportunities and Making Personal Advancements to Self Sufficiency 

COMPASS Programs make up the

various programs available at David & Margaret dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for youth facing diverse obstacles as they transition into adulthood through a comprehensive and holistic approach to wellness. 

These programs include:

COMPASS stands for:
Creating Opportunities and Making Personal Advancements to Self-Sufficiency. 

Each program is hand-tailored to meet the individual needs of each youth, focusing not only on their basic needs but forming the skills they need to become independent adults.

For youth in foster care, the abrupt transition into adulthood can be detrimental. The second these young adults “age out” they are expected to navigate through society; successfully and independently. Statistically speaking, and from the data we’ve collected in our own experience, this requirement proves to be an impossible task for most former foster youth.

This is through no fault of their own. These young people have not been equipped with the proper tools, knowledge, and resources to successfully transition into adulthood. Yes, these youth need to have their basic needs met through housing, food, and clothing; they also need life-skills training, career and employment support, and linkages to resources to truly be ready for life on their own.

For Additional Information, please contact  
Marissa Scholefield, COMPASS Director 

COMPASS@davidandmargaret.org 
909-596-5921 x3625

The LGBTQ+ Experience in Foster Care

Young adults aging out of foster care face daunting challenges in their transition to adulthood. For the over 30% of youth in the system who identify as LGBTQ+, those challenges can be intensified. While LGBTQ+ youth enter the foster care system for many of the same reasons as non-LGBTQ+ youth, over a quarter are placed directly because of conflicts surrounding their sexual orientation and/or gender identity at home. Oftentimes, the cycle of abuse only continues once placed in care. 13% of LGBTQ+ youth report mistreatment during their time in foster care and typically experience almost twice the number of placement than their non-LGBTQ+ peers, mostly in congregate care (Human Rights Campaign 2015).

The culmination of these adverse experiences negatively affects the physical and mental health of LGBTQ+ foster youth. LGBTQ+ foster youth disproportionately suffer from depression, suicidal thoughts, PTSD, anxiety, obesity, and STIs. They are also more likely to participate in survival crimes, risky sexual behavior, and experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ peers (Children and Youth Services Review 2020).  

For all youth, regardless of placement or sexual/gender identity, permanency, support, and resources are the key to a successful transition to adulthood. In order to achieve this, foster care needs to adapt to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ youth by providing comprehensive training to all foster parents, staff, and administrators who work with this population. Studies have shown that youth aging out of foster care with supportive networks have better outcomes in identity development and emotional well-being. Supportive networks that include sexual and gender minorities are especially crucial for LGBTQ+ young adults, who experience less stigma and discrimination-related stress when exposed to affirming relationships (Children and Youth Services Review 2020).

COMPASS Programs’ holistic approach to wellness for youth aging out of foster care includes affirming services, resources, and partnerships. While in the program, young adults have access to peer-led groups, life skills training that covers topics like self-esteem and identity, social events with peers, and a supportive staff to lean on. The COMPASS Point center is a safe space for all people, regardless of identity, and features two gender-neutral bathrooms with access to personal-health items like pads, tampons, and condoms available to all participants. The staff at COMPASS Programs regularly undergoes diversity training to keep up with best practices when interacting with the LGBTQ+ community and ensuring their needs are met. COMPASS also works with community partners, like Planned Parenthood, the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center, local college groups, and mental health services to provide extra support to young adults during and after their time at COMPASS.

Beyond the physical and emotional needs of participants, COMPASS fosters an educational environment by providing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Event each month focused on different cultures and identities. This month in honor of Pride, participants were supplied with two TED Talk videos dispelling myths about the LGBTQ+ community and the ties between the Gay Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement with a survey to reflect on what they learned and what Pride means to them.

To learn more about COMPASS Programs and our wonderful community partners, register for the Intellectual Wellness Resource Fair on Tuesday, June 15th from 1-2pm here

Our Impact This Year

  • Youth & Families Served

    785

  • Volunteer Hours

    1148

  • Youth Internship Hours

    231

  • Housing Provided

    46

© 2021 David & Margaret Youth and Family Services

Powered by Firespring