How Does YES! Work – Youth Empowered Solutions


The Learn about YES! section of this website introduced the connections between maturation processes and positive mental health. It established that a focus on developmental tasks and related skills is a legitimate approach to treating serious mental health conditions of youth and young adults.

The How YES! Works section describes particular developmentally-based approaches to address serious mental health conditions and how those approaches can be integrated into Wisconsin’s CCS programs.

A 2015 article on developmental trauma includes the following paragraph describing how development typically occurs.

Development in general relies upon the scaffolding of skills: the growing child’s emerging abilities are built upon his or her own pre-existing capacities, and by the ways that the external world provides support for functioning above that which would be possible independently. In the absence of this scaffold (reasonably safe, consistent supports), youth lag in development, and in turn continue to be vulnerable to the cumulative effect of ongoing failure experiences. Blaustein & Kinniburgh, in Focal Point, 2015, pg. 17  

This paragraph identifies two different aspects of scaffolding—the process by which children and youth typically build one skill upon another and the provision of external support to ensure safety.

Addressing serious mental health conditions is a process of remediation.  It requires that the external scaffolding does more than provide safety.  It must also support identification of areas in which skill gaps have occurred.  These gaps must be filled in order to strengthen subsequent skills.  Guiding and supporting youth to “fill in” their skill gaps actually does more than simply address skills that were “missed.”  It also gives young people a sense of accomplishment.  It supports the empowerment needed to move to self-discovery.

Explore this section to learn about the components of YES! that cumulatively contribute to accelerate skill-building and development and how they can be integrated into CCS programs. 

Do you need help implementing the YES! model? Contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The Importance of Friendships and Community

Hear from young people how important it is to have support that they trust, can relate, and also want to celebrate differences together.