TOP Learning Collaborative: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Youth in Custody in TN

“Closing the Opportunity Gap for Youth in Custody”
“Closing the Opportunity Gap for Youth in Custody”

About TN TOP®

In 2018, 5,745 or 41% of Tennessee’s foster care population was aged 14+. During the very formative teenage years, these youth need, but often do not receive, the same guidance, support, and opportunities as any young person. The Teen Outreach Program (TOP®) helps meet these needs by bolstering and supporting social and emotional learning and empowering teens with the skills they need to avoid risky behaviors and develop into healthy, thriving adults.

In 2012 Oasis Center and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS), formed the TOP Learning Collaborative to make TOP available to youth in foster care in TN, especially youth living in residential facilities. DCS provides funding and oversight and Oasis Center serves as a Certified Replication Partner in Wyman’s National Network, which allows it to provide training, monitoring, and technical assistance to organizations that elect to offer TOP to system-involved youth or to youth at risk of contact with the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

As of January 2023, 11 organizations are offering TOP at 32 sites in TN. These organizations form the TOP® Learning Collaborative, learning together how to integrate TOP’s practical, engaging and effective model into existing services at their location. As leader of the Learning Collaborative, Oasis:

• Trains and certifies staff as TOP® Facilitators.
• Provides coaching and technical assistance to participating agencies.
• Monitors for fidelity and quality assurance.
• Offers small contracts and other financial support to participating agencies.

About Oasis:

Oasis Center’s leadership of the Learning Collaborative is built on a 50-year history of excellence in services for youth. Our mission is to build relationships that advance youth wellbeing, amplify youth voice, and inspire action towards a just community.

Located in Nashville, Oasis Center is a nationally recognized organization on a mission to help young people in Middle Tennessee move into a happy, healthy, and productive adulthood. Every year, we engage over 4,000 youth and families across a broad spectrum of programs and services designed to help them reach their full potential.

Our philosophy is simple: Rather than viewing youth as passive recipients, we see them as full stakeholders who hold the keys to addressing some of the most challenging problems facing our city, including violence reduction, improved graduation rates, bullying prevention, discrimination, intolerance, and more.

About Our Partners

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services provides funding to support statewide engagement of youth in TOP® as part of its efforts to prevent youth from entering custody and to ensure that youth in custody are prepared for a successful transition to adulthood.

TOP® Implementation Sites in TN