The Teen Check-Up (TCU) is a complement to the Family Check-Up for youth between age 13 and 18. It is designed to provide an accurate appraisal and motivation to change for youth in the areas of healthy choices, academics, support systems, and self-strengths.
- Teens answer questions related to family, school, peers, and positive and risky behaviors, including drug use.
- Contextual variables such as discrimination, poverty, and cultural identity are assessed.
- The teens participate in a videotaped discussion with their parents that provides information about their communication and problem-solving skills.
- Teens are invited to receive information about their strengths for achieving their goals and handling problems.
- Before feedback is given, a family consultant explains the process and helps the teen identify goals and concerns.
Motivational interviewing principles underlie the feedback that identifies strengths in the areas of healthy choices, academics, support systems (family and peers), and self-strengths. Feedback can be delivered in one of two ways:
- A written linear profile, with each area delineated and presented on a continuum and color coded from green to yellow to red to indicate strength, improvement, or challenge
- A tactile representation of the teen’s profile accompanies the written profile. It includes a “profile map” and blocks for each of the feedback variables that are color coded as strength, needs improvement, or challenge. This approach works well for younger or less verbally oriented youth.
Based on our family-centered approach, menu options are
- skill building: tip sheets on improving skills are derived from our work with families and also previous teen curricula (Teen Focus, Shape)
- brief family-centered interventions: typically two to three sessions that focus on working with the teen and parents to improve skills or family processes