The Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC) is a youth engagement program for transition age youth, ages 16-26, created to improve county services by empowering youth who currently or formerly depended upon these services to provide thoughtful feedback directly to service providers. HCTAYC bridges the gap between the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the youth it serves. The model and funding for this program are unique and innovative. Humboldt County DHHS funded independent Youth Empowerment organizations to scrutinize current practices and policies, and develop policy recommendations that strengthen and integrate youth voice throughout all of the various programs. The outside organizations formed a collaboration, including DHHS and local youth, and embarked on a new vision of youth engagement, which provides education, opportunity, and experiences that lead to a better system of care and promotes the well-being of Humboldt’s youth.
Humboldt County DHHS is an integrated agency that includes all Behavioral Health, Public Health, Social Services, Public Guardian Services, Employment & Training Services, and County Veteran’s Services under one shared administration. Towards the goal of integrating parallel programs and state initiatives, Humboldt County has worked collaboratively to eliminate or reduce barriers to services and supports that may result in less than optimal care for overlapping and vulnerable populations. HCTAYC is funded through California’s Mental Health Services Act – Prevention and Early Intervention component to effectively include the voice of youth in system development, policy-setting and decision-making.