Transition to Independence Process (TIP) Model

TIP Model

teenage-groupYouth and Young Adult Challenges Young adults experience dramatic changes across all areas of development during their transition to adulthood. This transition proves especially challenging for more than 3 million youths and young adults with emotional and/or behavioral difficulties (EBD). Because of this, the TIP Model™ was developed to prepare those with EBD for their movement into adult roles. Through this individualized process, young adults ages 14 to 29 are engaged in their own future planning methods as well as provided developmentally appropriate services and support. They are encouraged to explore their interests and futures as related to each of the transition domains: employment and career, education, living situation, personal effectiveness/wellbeing and community-life functioning.

The TIP Model™ has been applied to countless young people, including 17-year-old Kendra who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was refusing to take her medication. Kendra’s transition facilitator, Ronda, would meet her in informal settings, such as cafes and neighborhood parks, to conduct Strength Discovery assessments and person-centered planning. Over time, Ronda became familiar with Kendra’s personal challenges – including her strained relationship with her mother – so that they could determine unique solutions right for Kendra. The TIP Model™ tailored support for Kendra. not only to address her needs, but to help achieve her goals and create a new path for her future.

Overview of the Transition to Independence Process (TIP) Model™ The TIP Model™ prepares youth and young adults with EBD for their movement into adult roles through an individualized process, engaging them in their own future’s planning process, as well as providing developmentally appropriate and appealing supports and services (Clark & Hart, 2009). The TIP Model™ involves youth and young adults (ages 14 to 29) in a process that facilitates their movement towards greater self-sufficiency and successful achievement of their goals. Young people are encouraged to explore their interests and futures as related to each of the transition domains: employment and career, education, living situation, personal effectiveness and wellbeing and community-life functioning. The TIP system also supports and involves family members and other informal key players (e.g., parents, foster parents, an older sister, girlfriend, roommate) as relevant in meeting their needs and those of the young person.

The TIP Model™ is operationalized through seven guidelines that drive practice-level activities with young people to provide the delivery of coordinated, non-stigmatizing, trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate, appealing supports and services to them. The guidelines also provide a framework for program and community systems to support, facilitate and sustain this effort (Clark, Deschênes, & Jones, 2000; Clark & Hart, 2009; Dresser, Clark, Deschênes, in press).

The TIP guidelines were synthesized from the literature on transition facilitation and then evaluated further with youth and young adults with EBD and their families (Dresser, Clark, Deschênes, in press; Walker & Gowen, 2011). The TIP Model™ is a “practice Model™,” meaning that it can be delivered by personnel within different “service delivery” platforms, such as a case management platform or from a team platform (e.g., Assertive Community Treatment [ACT]).

At the heart of the TIP practice Model™ are “proactive case managers” with small caseloads (i.e., transition facilitators, aka: life coaches, transition specialists, or coaches, serving 15 or fewer youth/young adults). The TIP transition facilitators use the guidelines and core practices (e.g., problem solving, in-vivo teaching, prevention planning of high-risk behaviors) in their work with young people to facilitate youth making better decisions as well as improving their progress and outcomes. The TIP Model™ also provides for the use of other evidence-based interventions (e.g., CBT, SPARCS/DBT) or other clinical interventions to address a critical need of a particular young person.

Source:, retrieved February 17, 2015


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