Pennsylvania’s HFW model is unique in that the team includes both a Youth Support Partner (YSP) and Family Support Partner (FSP) that function in equal partnership with the Facilitator.

The Youth Support Partner is a position designed by Pennsylvania youth who, when hearing about the Family Support Partner, wanted someone of a similar nature, to provide intensive levels of direct support for youth who want it. These positions are a distinctly different job than the HFW Facilitator and Family Support Partner, but work closely with the them to obtain outcomes at the family level.

The Youth Support Partner is generally under the age of 25 when they first start and is a graduate of the HFW process or have similar life experiences/system involvement with the youth/young adults they are working with. They ensure the team members hear and gain a better insight on the youth voice and youth culture around supports and opportunities. They provide support to the youth to accomplish various tasks that are agreed upon on the plan and also model strength-based approaches and share experiences as teachable moments when needed. 

The motto for this position is “Do For, Do With, Cheer On,” meaning that at times the Youth Support Partner will help the youth with direct support, do with the youth and walk beside them as they learn to do for themselves, and cheer them on when they are able to do the tasks without support.

The Youth Support Partner adds value to HFW by…

  • engaging youth more readily, as someone who has experienced similar challenges, than those without this experience.
  • providing direct services to support the goals of the Theory of Change. For example, working with the youth to determine if current friends could be natural supports or to complete a needs-based identification of natural supports if none are available.
  • understanding both current youth culture and the impact of system involvement.
  • helping youth navigate uncomfortable environments. For example, the youth might be intimidated by new situations and people and the YSP might go with them to meet with new natural supports and smooth the transition to develop new activities and social outlets.

The skills used by FSPs and YSPs are recorded on every contact note, and reflect the identified needs across the life domains and as part of the HFW process. The most frequently performed skills were updating the team on progress toward their goals and providing support for the youth and family. However, identifying new areas of need and new strengths were very important as well as celebrating successes, brainstorming new ideas, and preparing for team meetings.


The FSP and YSP roles are flexible and can be performed in a variety of settings and contexts. 87% of the contacts are done face-to-face with members of the team. Over half of the interactions with the team happen in the family’s home, 21% in the community, 15% in the office, 7% in the school, 4% in court, and 3% in other settings.

Data displayed on this page was collected in summer 2019.