Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Joan Kearney


Only 20.5% of Youth with Special Healthcare Needs (YSHCN) receive transitional health care support services. This rate is even lower for minority and low-income YSHCN, as well as among subset populations of those with certain Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Multiple authorities in child health emphasize the importance of effective transitional care services targeted towards YSHCN to mitigate potential adverse health outcomes and reduced quality of life. This project aimed to examine the effect of a family empowerment curriculum to promote successful healthcare transition for YSHCN. Project F.A.M.E. was conducted to assess the impact of a family empowerment curriculum among caregivers of YSHCN to promote successful healthcare transition. Sixteen participants met for a 2.5-hour workshop that included a pre and post intervention survey of the Family Empowerment Scale (FES). The curriculum contained the concept of family empowerment, action plans, current legislation, and community engagement. Participant engagement included the use of motivational interviewing and group work utilizing the train the trainer model for qualitative themes. Project results showed a positive increase in the knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes of caregivers of YSHCN utilizing family empowerment as a catalyst for healthcare transition with a an increase of +12.85% across all domains on the FES. The results of the F.A.M.E. project demonstrate that family empowerment is a useful concept that can be explored to promote successful healthcare transition for YSHCN that traverses institutional and environmental barriers.

Keywords: Family Empowerment, YSHCN, I/DD Healthcare Transition


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access