The Intervention: Strengths First is a strengths-based case management model for sexual and gender minority youth. Strengths First is a one-on-one social service intervention designed to help queer youth solve problems and reduce the barriers to their improvement in overall functioning.
Intervention Results: Strengths First is relevant to a variety of community settings and has promising evidence of effectiveness with significant increase in self-esteem and self-efficacy found in a study of 162 youth. Other research has found significant decreases in depression with queer youth. Many publications and presentations have resulted from this work.
Intervention Details: Strengths First is tailored specifically to address client-identified concerns; therefore, a wide variation exists in the complexity of issues discussed in an individual session. For that reason, no determinate dosage or amount of contact time has been established for engagement between case managers and youth. On average, though, studies have found that youth participated in a range of 6 to 12 Strengths First sessions with an average session lasting approximately 45 minutes. Participants have high rates of self referral to this program and low rates of attrition when enrolled. It is based on the work of Arnold and colleagues (2007) which described the use of strengths based case management with other vulnerable youth. To our knowledge, this study is the first to seek to understand the influence of case management on, and to capture strengths as part of a personalized intervention for this population.
Strengths First consists of five integrated stages:
1) assessment, including an evaluation of risks and strengths in personal, family, school, and community domains
2) planning case plan outcome
3) linking to resources and services
4) monitoring, including the adjustment of goals
5) advocacy activities with schools and communities.
Craig, S.L, Dentato, M. & Iacovino, G. (2015). Patching holes and integrating community: A strengths-based continuum of care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services. 27, 01, 100 – 115.
Craig, S. L. & Keane, G. (2014). The mental health of multiethnic lesbian and bisexual youth: The role of self-efficacy, stress and behavioral risks. The Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, 18(3), 266-283.
Craig, S. L., & Smith, M. (2014). The impact of perceived discrimination and social support on the school performance of multiethnic sexual minority youth. Youth & Society, 46, 30-50.
Craig, S. L., & McInroy, L. (2013). The relationship of cumulative stressors, physical and sexual abuse and chronic illness to the self-reported suicide risk of Black and Hispanic sexual minority youth. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(7), 783–798.
Craig, S. L., McInroy, L., Austin, A., Smith, M., & Engle, B. (2012). Promoting self-efficacy and self-esteem for multiethnic sexual minority youth: An evidence-informed intervention. Journal of Social Service Research, 38(5), 688-698.
Craig, S. L. (2012). Strengths-based case management: New applications for multiethnic sexual minority youth. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services, 39(3), 274-288.
McInroy, L. & Craig, S. L. (2012). Articulating identities: Language and practice with multiethnic sexual minority youth. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 137-149.
Craig, S. L. (2011). Precarious partnerships: Designing a community needs assessment to develop a system of care for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) youth. Journal of Community Practice. 19, 1-18.