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The following article was published in “Residential Group Care Quarterly” Child Welfare League, Volume 2, Number 4, Summer 2001.

West Virginia’s Residential Life Skills Program

By: Shirlee F. Lively, MSW

Being good at something is the best antidote to low self-esteem.

West Virginia child welfare officials have recently adopted a structured, uniform curriculum for teaching life skills to adolescents in residential care facilities. In October 2000, approximately 500 youth age 14-20 began participating in the Phillip Roy Inc.’s Life Skills Curriculum.

The Life Skills Curriculum comprises more than 100 reproducible books written to different comprehension levels, allowing students to learn at their own pace. The curriculum includes five skill topic units: social skills, consumerism, employability, English as a second language/special needs, and student issues. Additional support materials include a curriculum framework, teacher’s guide, certificates of achievement, pre/post tests for each unit in addition to pre/post tests for each lesson, record-keeping log, introductory video and correlations to other assessment systems.

The decision to mandate a program for life skills instruction for youth in residential care was, in large part, the result of observations by casework staff. District social workers reported that as youth learn practical skills and gain practical knowledge, their confidence and self esteem improve. The state instituted the Life Skills Curriculum to ensure youth in residential care have the opportunity to acquire and test new skills and improve their knowledge.

To encourage student participation and celebrate successes, each youth receives a certificate of achievement and a $10 cash bonus when he or she completes a unit in one of the five skills topics. The support of the state social workers and residential and group care staff is an important part of the program’s success.

For additional information contact:

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Phillip Roy, Inc.
PO Box 130
Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785

1-800-255-9085
Fax: 877-595-2685

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