Resources for Supporting Young People
- Things People Never Told Me: When You Start Living on Your Own from Foster Care, There are Some Things in Life that People Seem to Forget to Tell You About
This compilation of suggestions about finances, health care, employment, and relationships from foster youth transitioning to adulthood is aimed at equipping other youth leaving foster care with the necessary tools to become independent and successful adults. This resource is a product of the Better Futures Project, Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University.
- Promoting Successful Transitions for Adolescents "Aging Out" of Foster Care.
This brief explains six broad foundations identified by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative that youth aging out of foster care need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The foundations include: a permanent family that provides an ensuring source of emotional support; a stable education that includes postsecondary opportunities; opportunities to achieve economic success; a place to live that is safe, stable, and affordable; access to comprehensive, coordinated health and mental health care; and opportunities to be listened to, to be informed, to be respected, and to exert control over one's life. For each foundation, information is provided on current policies and practices in Connecticut and recommendations for reform. (2011)
- State Policies to Help Youth Transition Out of Foster Care
This issue brief from the National Governor's Association Center for Best Practices describes ways that states can strengthen policies, improve coordination across agencies and systems, better utilize resources, and meaningfully engage foster youth to improve the outcomes of youth leaving the foster care system and at-risk youth in general.
Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: Identifying Strategies and Best Practices
This issue brief from the National Association of Counties outlines the current federal framework addressing youth aging out of foster care, identifies general outcomes for these young people, and highlights model county programs and best practices that are addressing the needs of this population in innovative ways.
Supporting Foster Youth to Achieve Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency
This paper highlights the unique characteristics of the young people who age out of the foster care system each year. The framework for examining this population is being done within the context of Guideposts for Success, developed by the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). These Guideposts identify a range of opportunities, supports, and services that all foster youth, including those with disabilities, need in order to transition from adolescence to productive adulthood and citizenship.
Negotiating the Curves Toward Employment: A Guide about Youth Involved in the Foster Care System
This guide from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability builds upon the NCWD/Youth organizing framework, Guideposts for Success, which details what research says all youth, including youth with disabilities, need to successfully transition to adulthood. This publication applies the Guideposts to meeting the needs of youth in foster care with and without disabilities. The Guide also provides facts and statistics about youth involved in the foster care system; gives examples of states and communities that are changing policy and practices; identifies areas requiring further attention by policy makers and providers of services; and identifies resources and tools to assist cross-system collaborative efforts.
Health Care for Adolescents and Young Adults Leaving Foster Care: Policy Options for Improving Access
This issue brief from the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law describes the young people who are aging out of foster care, their health status, and the barriers to health care they face when leaving foster care. It explains how health care access can be improved for this population, by first describing how Medicaid and SCHIP currently reach adolescents and young adults, and how these two programs can be used to help former foster youth. The brief emphasizes, in particular, the important opportunity presented by the Medicaid Expansion Option contained in the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, and summarizes the policy options that can best improve access to health care for former foster youth.
Helping Teens Help Themselves: A National Blueprint for Expanding Access to Supportive Housing Among Pregnant and Parenting Teens Exiting Foster Care
This national blueprint from the Healthy Teen Network represents a multi-year, multidisciplinary approach to increase supportive housing options for pregnant and parenting teens exiting foster care.
HHS Actions Could Improve Coordination of Services and Monitoring of States' Independent Living Programs
This GAO report reviews the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and makes recommendations to the Secretary of HHS to improve the availability of information on the array of federal programs that could be used to assist youth transitioning out of foster care at the state and local levels and to improve existing processes for monitoring states' progress in meeting the needs of current and former foster care youth. (Type the report number, GAO-05-25, in the search box at the top of the page.) (November 2004)
Finding Funding: Guide to Federal Funding Sources for Youth Programs
This catalog and guide provides an overview of
federal funds that may support youth programming.
In addition, the guide highlights youth initiatives that
used creative financing strategies to support their
programming and offers tips for accessing funds
and implementing financing strategies.
Transitioning from Foster Care: An Experiential Activity Guidebook
This guidebook from the University of Southern Maine, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, Institute for Public Sector Innovation is designed for programs who primarily work with youth in and transitioning from foster care. Specific transition activities and facilitation techniques are provided as a resource for program development and/or the enhancement of current program orientation and training.
AdvoCasey (Fall 2001/Winter 2002 Issue)
AdvoCasey is a policy magazine published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to highlight issues and policies that affect the lives of children and families in the United States. The focus of the Fall 2001 issue is "Foster Teens in Transition: Fostered or Forgotten?"
Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood - Conference Summary
The transition from adolescence to adulthood is often a tumultuous time for a young person, but it is especially difficult for vulnerable youth - those in foster care, those with health or mental health issues, and those in the juvenile justice or adult correctional systems. The social institutions that support these young adults change considerably. Their support networks of family and kin may be severely strained, or their health or mental health may create barriers to a smooth transition. This summary from Chapin Hall's November 2004 conference, co-sponsored by the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy, synthesizes the research presented and the discussions on program and policy implications of this research. Topics include education, workforce development, civic engagement, and specific issues facing several at-risk populations.
It's My Life: Employment
This handbook from Casey Family Programs is intended for child welfare professionals and others responsible for helping young people prepare for transition to adulthood and the workplace. It provides benchmarks for career exploration and techniques for job seeking. It breaks out the benchmarks by age group and lets young people describe their successes in their own words. It also provides a wealth of links to online tools and assessments and many suggestions for taking advantage of community resources.
It's My Life: Housing
This book provides useful information for child welfare professionals and others who work with youth transitioning to adulthood and independent living. It provides an abundance of Web links to online resources, practical strategies to help young people find, get, and keep housing, and developmentally appropriate strategies for adolescents to young adults. The book provides several recommendations and corresponding strategies to help young people get and keep safe, affordable housing: Start early to build a strong foundation of life skills education and practice; Explore housing options and finances with young people; Make and implement a housing plan that includes contingencies, and follow up; and Develop housing connections in your community to benefit young people transitioning from care.
It's My Life: Postsecondary Education and Training
A resource guide for child welfare professionals to help young people from foster care prepare academically, financially, and emotionally for postsecondary education and training success.
Ensuring Safe, Stable and Affordable Housing for Young People Aging Out of Foster Care
This statement of the National Foster Youth Advisory Council gives ten recommendations for ensuring every youth aging out of foster care has a place to call home, and can serve as a framework for action for agencies seeking to improve outcomes for these young people.
Audio: Vulnerable Youth and the Transition to Adulthood
Listen to this "Thursday's Child" meeting from the Urban Institute and the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children. Panelists addressed an array of key questions about the policy and program options for vulnerable teens nearing adulthood, including young people in foster care with no direct family support, those with physical or mental health problems, and youth disconnected from employment and educational opportunities.
Audio: Adolescence and the Transition to Adulthood: Rethinking the Safety Net for Vulnerable Young Adults
Listen to audio recordings from the panel discussions at Chapin Hall's October 18-19, 2006 conference. The conference explored what can be done to strengthen the safety net for vulnerable youth during the transition to adulthood. Youth policy advocates, Congressional staff members, state legislators, reporters and researchers discussed the challenges faced by young people who don't have the financial or emotional support to successfully navigate adult life.
"Now What? Leaving the System: A Special Issue on Permanency"
The March/April 2008 issue of Represent Magazine, "Now What? Leaving the System: A Special Issue on Permanency" offers stories by young people on adoption, reunification, and independent living. The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) named Represent's "Now What? Leaving the System: A Special Issue on Permanency" a finalist in the category of Best One-Theme Issue in this year's Distinguished Achievement Awards.
New Money Resources: How to Budget and Save for the Future
The YouthSuccessNYC website has a new section on money, which features true stories to inspire teens leaving care, and helpful articles like “How to Create a Budget,” Why Open a Bank Account?,” and “Credit Cards: Buy Now, Pain Later,” as well as information on how to enroll in Youth Financial Empowerment, a free program to help teens start saving.
Keep in Touch: Online Tool for Transitioning Youth
Keep in Touch brings the true stories of three formerly homeless young people to participants in your transitional or independent living program. Each young person gives practical tips about how to stay connected, get support and live a successful adult life.
Youth new to your transitional or independent living program will get an idea of what to expect. Youth leaving or graduating from your program will be encouraged to stay in touch and ask for help when they need it.
Resources from the States
Alaska Foster Youth and Independent Living Skills: An Examination of the Skills Necessary for Alaskan Youth Transitioning from Office of Children's Services Custody to Independent Living
This report is comprised of three parts: 1) a qualitative study of independent living skills for Alaskan youth; 2) a compilation of Ansell-Casey Living Skills Assessment (ACLSA) scores for Alaskan youth; and 3) recommendations derived from Parts 1 and 2 regarding transitional services for Alaskan youth in out-of-home care.
Finding a Family for a Lifetime/Aging Out of the Foster Care System
This issue brief from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families examines the demographics of the children who aged out
of the Arkansas child welfare system in 2007, and discusses the services that are
available to them before and after age 18.
- Youth Transition Action Teams Guidebook: Leveraging Community Resources to Ensure Successful Transitions for Foster Youth
This guidebook is designed to help Youth Transition Action Teams in California better serve foster youth, and support their successful transition to adult life. It offers tools, materials, strategies, and community approaches for strengthening a local youth transition system – in California and beyond.
- A Strategic Housing Plan for Special Needs Populations in Los Angeles County
This plan from the County of Los Angeles Special Needs Housing Alliance presents a two-year strategic plan for increasing the availability of special needs housing. One of the three populations addressed is young people emancipating from the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
- Training Resource on Transitional Independent Living Plan
This brief training resource from the California Social Work Education Center is designed to disseminate vital information about the Transitional Independent Living Plan. Two resources are provided: one for supervisors and managers, the other for child welfare workers. The child welfare worker resource is designed to be conducted by a trainer, or by a supervisor or facilitator. Both are designed to last about one hour, so that they may be provided during a regular meeting, such as a unit meeting
- When You Become 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers
This resource addressesa number of issues important to young adults, including information about laws related to: alcohol, banking, contracts, credit, employment, hate crimes, jury duty, military service, voting. When You Become 18 was first published in 1991 by California Law Advocates and revised seven times over the past decade. The State Bar took over publication of the guide in 2002. Available in English and Spanish. (2008)
- District of Columbia:
- Aging Out of Foster Care: Important Information for Teens
Intended for adolescents in foster care in the District of Columbia, this brochure from DC’s Children’s Law Center Teen Task Force explains key steps teens should take to prepare themselves for transitioning to adulthood when they age out of foster care. Actions teens should take each year from age 15 through 20 are listed. Actions include setting goals, getting an identification card, saving money, getting a copy of their credit report, completing or continuing their education plan, developing a housing plan, scheduling and attending all medical appointments, securing important documentation and applying for mental health services. A checklist is provided. (2012)
- Revamping Youth Services: Preparing Young People in Foster Care for Independence. White Paper
This paper explores the experiences of foster youth in the District of Columbia and the need to provide appropriate services to encourage youth development. Benchmarks are listed for youth development in the areas of case planning/life skills, family/permanent connections, education, employment, health/mental health, and housing.
This publication from Florida's Children First answers the most commonly asked questions asked by teens as they figure out their transition to adulthood
Passage from Youth to Adulthood
A partnership between the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities and Florida’s Children First, Inc., has produced a guide to services and information for Florida youth with disabilities who are transitioning from foster care to independent living. Passage From Youth to Adulthood provides practical information on the legal rights of students with disabilities as they transition to adulthood.
Youth Exiting Foster Care: Efficacy of Independent Living Services in the State of Idaho
A six-year, quantitative, longitudinal research study was conducted in the State of Idaho evaluating the efficacy of independent living services delivered to foster youth who exited care at age 18 between 1996 and 2002. Based on research findings, five key independent living program recommendations are outlined to provide policy makers, researchers, program administrators, and intervention workers with important information to facilitate program change, prevention, implementation, and positive independent living outcomes for foster youth.
Standard: Working With Older Youth
The purpose of these standards from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is to provide direction and guidance to the Children and Family Services (CFS) program to ensure a seamless process of case planning and decision making for older youth that addresses both the youth's permanency needs and independent living skills development in preparation for transition to adulthood. (2009)
Resources to Support Transitioning Needs for Older Youth
A list of resources, in English and Spanish, including academic checklists, as well as information about medical assistance, employment, education and training vouchers, goal-setting, transition and independent living programs, and housing assistance.
Independent Living Transition Planning Toolkit
This toolkit contains planning forms for assisting adolescents in foster care transition to independent living. It begins by explaining the goal of the transition planning conference and participants in the conference. A form for identifying a youth's assets is then provided so that the youth and his or her supporting adults can understand the strengths and weaknesses of the youth. A form for transition planning is also presented to assist youth in developing a plan to transition to their own housing when their case is dismissed at age 18 or older. The toolkit closes with a list of prompt questions for the development of the transition plan.
Improving Outcomes for Youth in Transition from Foster Care
This article from the Prevention Report describes current efforts underway in Iowa to improve outcomes for youth through statewide training for child
welfare supervisors, caseworkers, and community partners.
Preparing Our Kids for Education, Work and Life
This report from the Task Force on Youth Aging Out of DSS Care advocates a scientific framework based on
the “Five Core Resources” for the healthy development
of all youth. These Five Core
Resources identify the supports and opportunities all
young people need in order to develop into healthy,
thriving, productive and contributing citizens. This
framework was used by the Task Force to identify outcomes and develop strategies to provide the additional
attention youth need in order to be prepared
for education, work and life.
Interdepartmental Task Force on Service to At-Risk Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
The Michigan legislature mandated the creation of a task force to focus on improving outcomes for youths transitioning from foster care. This mandate gave Michigan the
opportunity to create a partnership among
state agencies, the non-profit sector,
advocacy groups and other community and
state based organizations to focus on foster
youths that is unique in the nation. This report describes the work of the task force.
How Does Michigan Fare in the Fight to Improve Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care?: A Response from the State and One of Its Communities
This paper in the Fall 2007 issue of the Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal examines how the State of Michigan is seeking to improve outcomes for children aging out of the Michigan child welfare system.
What is Missouri Doing to Help Youth Aging Out of Foster Care?
This issue brief from Citizens for Missouri's Children describes supports provided to young people transitioning to adulthood from the state's foster care system.
Best Practices - Benchmark Hearings
Benchmark Hearings are court hearings specifically focused on making sure that a young person has a Transitional Living Plan in place to achieve key outcomes for the youth before his/her discharge from foster care. This bulletin outlines best practices and describes the roles of caseworkers, judges, attorneys, court staff, and CASA volunteers.
New York City:
Preparing Youth for Adulthood
This Administration for Children's Services report focuses on strengthening and expanding supports and services for foster care youth. The initiative shifts the focus from an independent-living to a youth-development framework and establishes six goals for all youth. It requires developing a plan to achieve these goals when the child reaches age 14 and setting and tracking action steps for achieving the goals.
The Juvenile Rights Project has published a number of useful guidebooks, including:
- A Survival Guide for Teens Aging Out of Foster Care
- Transition Guide to Teens Aging Out of Foster Care in Oregon: A Guide to Transition Planning for Caseworkers, Judges and Advocates
This curriculum from the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program prepares participants to:Describe the social issues of unprepared youth and young adults exiting care; Describe the history, philosophy, legislation, and goals of the Pennsylvania Independent Living Program; Recognize the importance of permanent connections for youth within the community; Identify available resources to promote permanency for youth; and Describe the roles of collaborative partners that aid in empowering youth.
The Independent Living Services Continuum: Engaging Youth in Their Transition Process
This curriculum from the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Training Program prepares participants to: Understand and implement the Independent Living continuum of services. They will also learn how to engage youth in that continuum; Develop a case plan with youth; Describe the rights of youth in the case planning process; Identify ways to engage youth in the case planning process; and Identify required documentation and its importance to the youth's successful transition.
Building Better Lives for Youth Leaving Foster Care
This Issue Brief from Rhode Island Kids Count provides facts and statistics about older youth in out-of-home care in Rhode Island, and makes recommendations in the areas of permanency and life-long connections, education, employment and financial security, health, housing and youth involvement.
AL-STEP: A Youth Driven Curriculum for Supervisors
To reinforce the abilities of youth in foster care about to transition to an independent life and enhance their chances of success, the University of Houston collaborated with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) and the University of Texas at Arlington to produce a training curriculum for supervisors in child protective services (CPS) across Texas. This collaborative project, Preparation for Adult Living: Supervisor Training and Empowerment Program (PAL-STEP), focused on providing CPS supervisors with: (1) The skills and knowledge they would need to guide and direct adolescents in foster care; (2) The tools to share that knowledge with other CPS workers by imparting the four core principles of the training: positive youth development, collaboration, cultural competence, and permanent connections. PAL-STEP training included both a 1-hour web-based training and a day of live training led by PAL-STEP staff and former foster youth hired by the TDFPS. Youth trainers presented some of the curriculum content and shared their experiences about life in the foster care system. They recounted some common concerns: aging out of care, loneliness, being gay and lesbian in foster care, and separation from siblings. Subsequent evaluation results showed that the participation of these young people, who also discussed resources and answered questions, was the most highly rated aspect of the training.
- To learn more about PAL-STEP and to access the Supervisor Toolkit, click here.
- A full report on PAL-STEP, including contact information for the co-principal investigators, is available on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
Research, Studies, and Reports
Highlights from State Reports to the National Youth in Transition Database, Federal Fiscal Year 2011
This publication from the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) highlights national data from FFY 2011. It is the first in a series of briefs discussing new insights on youth in transition provided by NYTD. Data Brief #1 provides a national snapshot of transitioning youth, including: information on over 98,000 youth who received independent living services paid for or provided by State agencies that administer the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP); and, information on baseline outcomes reported by over 17,000 youth in foster care at age 17 in six areas. The six areas addressed are: financial self-sufficiency, educational attainment, connection with adults, homelessness, high-risk behaviors, and access to health insurance. (September 2012)
- Review of State Policies and Programs to Support Young People Transitioning Out of Foster Care
This report, by Amy Dworsky and Judy Havlicek, provides a comprehensive review of state efforts to support youth transitioning out of foster care. As part of the review, Chapin Hall administered a web-based survey of state independent living services coordinators that covered a number of domains including conditions under which foster youth can remain in care after turning 18, independent living and transition services provided, opportunities for youth to reenter care, and how state dollars are used to supplement federal funds.
- Aging Out and On Their Own: More Teens Leaving Foster Care Without a Permanent Family
This report from Kids are Waiting presents state-by-state data on the rising numbers of youth aging out without a safe, permanent family, describes the challenges they face, and recommends federal foster care financing reform as a way to reduce these numbers.
- Aging Out of the Foster Care System to Adulthood: Findings, Challenges, and Recommendations
This report from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute explores the unmet needs of youth who age out of the nation's foster care systems.
- Assessing Outcomes for Youth Transitioning from Foster Care
The Utah Department of Human Services reviewed the outcomes of 926 youth who aged out of foster care between 1999 and 2004, and comparing outcomes for those who left care before and after implementation of the Transition to Adult Living Initiative in 2003. This report describes those outcomes, which were mixed, and makes recommendations for further improvement.
- Evidence-Based Programs for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood
The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse has identified programs for young people transitioning to adulthood that can be classified as "acceptable/emerging practices."
- Coming of Age: Employment Outcomes for Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care Through Their Middle Twenties
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) requested this study to examine employment and earnings outcomes for youth, through their mid-twenties, who age out of foster care. The key question and focus of the study is whether foster youth catch up or continue to experience less employment and significantly lower earnings than their peers even into their mid-twenties.
- Employment Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
This report from the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago provides information on the employment outcomes of children exiting foster care near their eighteenth birthdays in California, Illinois, and South Carolina during the mid-1990s. It describes when they began to have earnings, in how many quarters over a 13-quarter time period they had earned income, and the amount of earned income they received over that time period. These outcomes are compared to those for youth who were reunified with their parents prior to their eighteenth birthday and to low-income youth. (March 2002) See following item
- Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth
Presented here are the first two waves of findings from the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth, a longitudinal study of youth aging out of foster care and transitioning to adulthood in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. The study is based on survey data that will be collected at three points in time from a sample of youth who were in foster care for at least one year prior to their 16th birthday. The majority of these youth were placed in the care of the state child welfare system due to abuse and neglect.
- Outcomes for Youth Exiting Care
Provides a summary of the limited data currently available and addresses anticipated improvements in data collection. From Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support. (June 2001)
- Public Shelter Admission among Young Adults with Child Welfare Histories by Type of Service and Type of Exit
This study examines the prevalence and associated factors of New York City public shelter
use among young adults with histories of out-of-home care or nonplacement preventive
services as teenagers. The study finds that 19 percent of former child welfare service users
entered public shelters within 10 years of exit from child welfare. Persons with out-ofhome
placement histories are twice as likely to enter public shelters (22 percent) as those
who received nonplacement preventive services only (11 percent). Persons exiting child
welfare through absconding from child welfare have the highest rate of shelter use, followed
by those discharged to independent living.
- Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study
A study by Casey Family Programs, Harvard Medical School, the State of Washington Office of Children's Administration Research, and the State of Oregon Department of Human Services. Few studies have examined how children in foster care have fared as adults, and even fewer studies have identified what changes in foster care services could improve their lives. This study provides new information in both areas.
- Alaskan Foster Care Alumni Study
This study examined the outcomes of young adults who had
“aged out” of State custody after spending much of their adolescence in foster care. The
study team, composed of representatives from the State of Alaska Office of Children's
Services, Casey Family Programs, the Tribal-State Collaboration Group, and the
University of Alaska Anchorage, sought to answer the following questions about a cohort
of Alaskan foster care alumni: where are they living, how they were faring socially,
economically, and emotionally, and how do they perceived their experiences in foster
- Transition Planning for Foster Youth
This study from the Journal for Vocational Special Needs Education evaluated the IEPs/Individualized Transition Plans of 45 students who were in special education and foster care, and compared them to the plans of 45 students who were in special education only. Results indicate that the transition plans of foster youth with disabilities were poor in quality, both in absolute terms and in comparison to youth who are in special education only. The review of transition plans suggests that foster youth may often go through the transition plan process with no parent advocate or educational surrogate, that professionals have limited expectations for foster youth, and that the transition plan document often does not support accountability or serve as a road map for moving into adulthood. The importance of student-directed, meaningful transition planning, services and supports for youth in foster care with disabilities is emphasized. In addition, the need for collaborative efforts between the child welfare system and special education is discussed.
- Homelessness and Health Care Access After Emancipation: Results From the Midwest Evaluation of Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth
Among 345 emancipated participants in this study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 14.2% experienced homelessness and 39.4% were unstably housed. Homelessness was associated with being uninsured and having unmet need for health care. Housing status was not associated with reporting fair or poor health at follow-up or, among women, with having had a pregnancy. Conclusion: Having had an episode of homelessness after emancipation is associated with worse health access, but not worse outcomes, among youth emancipated from foster care.
- Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
This Congressional Research Service report begins with a discussion of the characteristics of older foster youth in care and the types of outcomes experienced by youth who have recently emancipated. It provides an overview of the federal foster care system, including the Chafee Foster Care Independence program, and provisions in federal foster care law that are intended to help prepare youth for adulthood. It discusses other federal support for youth aging out of care in the areas of education, health care, employment, and housing; examines how states vary in their approaches to serving older youth in care and those who are recently emancipated. Appendices include a summary of outcome statistics for youth who were in foster care, compared to youth in the general population and a summary of state policies regarding youth remaining in care beyond age 18.
- Aging Out of Foster Care: Towards a Universal Safety Net for Former Foster Youth
This article by Melinda Atkinson identifies the specific needs and outcomes of youths who age out under current foster care policies. The article also provides an extensive review of research and legal findings and precedents, as well as policy analysis, and an overview of state programs which continue support for foster youth to age 21. The article argues for adoption of legislation and policy changes to better support transition-age foster youth. (2008)
- The Mental Health of Vulnerable Youth and Their Transition to Adulthood: Examining the Role of the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Runaway/Homeless Systems
This research brief was prepared by Child Trends under contract to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation/DHHS. The project focused on the mental health of vulnerable youth who have been in contact with service systems, including child welfare, juvenile justice, and run-away and homeless programs. Data for this project come from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Add Health is a nationally representative study that was designed to examine the causes of health-related behaviors of adolescents and their outcomes in young adulthood. (August 2009)
- Factors, Characteristics, and Practices Related to Former Foster Youth and Independent Living Programs: A Literature Review
It has been well documented that former foster youth are at a distinct disadvantage in early adulthood in the areas of education, housing, employment, economics, and health. This report prepared by Northern California Training Academy and sponsored by California Department of Social Services reviews the literature on the transition out of the foster care system to independent living. Independent Living Programs (ILPs) have been found to contribute to independence for some former foster youth. However, many limitations have been noted. One suggested approach to administering ILPs is to consider individual differences and design programs using a person-centered approach. Multiple studies suggest that enrollment in ILPs should commence as early as possible as many youth exit the system without the benefit of ILP experiences. Overall, the most common recommendation is to foster and encourage mentor relationships for youth during the transition to independent living and to provide extended aftercare services as necessary. Recommendations for future research are discussed. (June 2009)
- Imployment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from the Midwest Study
The limited research that has been done on young adults who "aged out" of foster care has found that their labor market outcomes are generally quite poor. This Chapin Hall study by Amy Dworsky and Judy Havlicek describes what Illinois young people said about their current and prior participation in the labor force, including work-related training or services they received.
- Launch of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD): A Message from the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Beginning in 2000, ACF initiated national consultations with State child welfare agencies, private agency youth service providers and current and former foster youth, to develop this data collection system. In 2008, this collaborative work culminated in the publication of the regulation implementing the data collection requirements of the Foster Care Independence Act; a reporting system we now know as the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). October 1, 2010 marked another important milestone in the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, as it was the official start of NYTD data collection, as described in this message from Comissioner Bryan Samuels.
- Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress – CRS Report for Congress
This Congressional Research Service report, prepared for Members and Committees of Congress by Adrienne L. Fernandes, provides information on the following topics: Who are Older Youth in Foster Care and Youth Aging Out of Care?; Overview of Federal Support for Foster Youth; Federal Foster Care Program; Chafee Foster Care Independence Program; Other Federal Support for Older Current and Former Foster Youth; and, Issues: Foster Care for Youth Ages 18 and Older, Permanency, Housing, Runaway Youth, Use of Chafee Education and Training Vouchers, Medicaid Coverage for Youth Aging Out of Care, The Risk of Becoming Disconnected. (May 2008)
Teleconferences, Webcasts, & Webinars
Recording from Webinar: Improving the Economic Security of Children in Foster Care and Young People who are Transitioning from Foster Care.
This 41-minute SPARC (State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center) webinar discusses strategies for improving access to four major public programs providing food, disability benefits, and health insurance to young people who are transitioning from foster care to independent living. The role of child welfare advocates to improve benefit access through outreach and system change is discussed, as well as the incidence of poor health or disability in children in foster family care, and the lower educational attainment and employment of former foster care youth. Foster family eligibility and youth access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is then explored, and increasing the enrollment of former foster youth in SNAP is discussed. The under-enrollment of foster children in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is also addressed. Finally, recommendations are made to adopt screening and enrollment policies for former foster youth in SNAP and SSI, implement a direct certification option for the Free School Meals program, and conduct outreach to former foster youth up to age 26 for Medicaid eligibility. An audio file and slide presentation is provided. (2012)
- Keeping Kids in the Child Welfare System After Age 18
This web seminar, jointly sponsored by Chapin Hall Center for Children and the National Conference of State Legislatures, presents an overview of research and provides state lawmakers, policy-makers, advocates, and others with an opportunity to learn about the experiences of states that allow youth to remain in foster care past their eighteenth birthdays. Originally aired March 1, 2006.
- Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Implications for Providers, Impact on Budgets
One important provision of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act extended federal support for keeping foster youth in care until age 21. The goal is to improve educational and health-related outcomes. This extension of care has significant implications for service providers as they plan adaptations to their programs for a group of older youth who need services that will help prepare them for independence. It has implications as well for the budgets of state agencies and program providers. This webinar, from Urban Institute and Chapin Hall, offered a discussion on extending foster care to age 21 and its implications for providers and impact on budgets. (2011)
Websites from the States
- California: Bust N Out
This Website was designed to act as an information resource for all youth, youth in foster care and emancipated youth in Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Shasta, Tehama, Lassen, Plumas, Del Norte, Humboldt, Modoc, Siskiyou, Trinity, Lake, Sutter, and Yuba counties so that they can obtain important information regarding many of lifestyle changes they will face once on their own.
- Florida: Connected by 25
Cby25 is a community initiative that engages youth, public/private partners and policy makers to improve outcomes for foster youth through investments in services and programs. Their mission is to ensure that foster care youth are educated, housed, banked, employed and connected to a support system by age 25.
- Michigan: Foster Youth in Transition
This is a Web site with information on a variety of issues important to current and former foster youth. The site provides links on how to develop supports, find services, get answers to important questions and just keep you posted on what's new. The Web site will be updated by members of Michigan's Youth Boards from locations across the state.
- New York: Adolescent Services Resource Network
Funded by the New York State Office of Children and Families and the New York City Administration for Children's Services, the Adolescent Services Resource Network at the Hunter College School of Social Work is a training, technical assistance, and information resource center dedicated to increasing the knowledge and skills of child welfare staff working with youth 14-21 in foster care.
- Ohio: Mission Transition
Ohio State Bar Foundation in collaboration with the state-wide Public Children Services Association of Ohio and the members of the Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board developed this website to guide youth who are aging out of care. The site provides tools and helpful links to education, finance, health, housing, job, legal, parenting, responsible citizenship and other resources.
- Tennessee: Fostering Success
Fostering Success creates better futures for thousands of foster youth in Middle Tennessee who reach their 18th birthdays while in foster care. It provides opportunities for individuals and organizations throughout the state to support young people in a variety of ways.
- Vermont: Youth Development Committee
This website was developed with the help of a UVM student as a central resource for youth as they transition out of foster care. It will also be of interest to caseworkers and any service providers who work with youth. It includes information on the common steps youth will take to achieve certain life goals, such as attending college, learning how to drive, getting a first apartment, and finding a job.
Camellia Network: A Support Net(work) for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Camellia Network harnesses the power of new technology to connect youth “aging out” of the foster care system with a community of resources, opportunities, encouragement and support. Youth have profiles on the site, giving them a place to express themselves, share their goals for the future, and articulate what they need to be successful. Individuals and companies from across the country are able to collectively provide the support these young people need by offering up doses of encouragement, career advice, professional connections, and financial support to help them navigate their way into adulthood. This innovative platform is the first of its kind in the child welfare sector.
- National Resource Center for Youth Development
The National Resource Center for Youth Development at the University of Oklahoma focuses on increasing the capacity and resources of State, Tribal, and other publicly supported child welfare agencies to effectively meet the needs of youth who will be emancipated from the child welfare system. This will be accomplished by helping adolescents achieve the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 goals of safety, permanency, and well-being through the effective implementation of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 and other related programs.
- Transition From Foster Care to Adulthood Wiki
This Wiki has been set up as a space for sharing information about state law and practice regarding foster youths' transition from foster care to adulthood. It allows those with access to information on a specific jurisdiction to make that information easily available to others. This collaborative effort will result in the creation of a convenient, comprehensive, and continually updated resource for finding information on the various legal and practical approaches states have taken regarding the transition from foster care to adulthood.
- Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is a national foundation whose mission is to help youth in foster care make successful transitions to adulthood.
Formed by two foundations focused on child and youth well-being—The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs—the Initiative brings together the people and resources needed to help youth make the connections they need to education, employment, health care, housing, and supportive personal and community relationships.
- Youth Transitions Funders Group
The Youth Transition Funders Group was formed in 1995 by advocates from foundations dedicated to improving the lives of our nation's most vulnerable young people. Foundations involved in the YTFG are committed to achieving a common mission - ensuring that this nation's young people are successfully connected by age 25 to institutions and support systems that will enable them to succeed throughout adulthood. The YTFG is focusing explicitly on young people ages 14-24 likely to be disconnected from positive personal, family, community, and/or societal involvement because they dropped out of school; had a baby before age 20 without being married; are deeply involved in the juvenile or adult criminal justice system, and/or dropped out or "aged out" of the foster care system. Visit this website to learn more; check out their collection of papers and reports.
- FYI3.com - Foster Youth Involved, Informed, Independent
Fyi3.com provides foster youth between ages 14 and 23 opportunities to become involved, informed and independent in their transitioning journey towards adulthood. The website is a partnership project between FosterClub.com and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.
- Network on Transitions to Adulthood
The Network on the Transitions to Adulthood, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, examines the changing nature of early adulthood (ages 18-34), and the policies, programs, and institutions that support young people as they move into adulthood.
- The Forum for Youth Investment
The Forum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21™ — ready for college, work and life. This goal requires that young people have the supports, opportunities and services needed to prosper and contribute where they live, learn, work, play and make a difference. The Forum provides youth and adult leaders with the information, technical assistance, training, network support and partnership opportunities needed to increase the quality and quantity of youth investment and youth involvement.
- The Finance Project Connected by 25 Information Resource Center for Youth Transitions Initiatives
This site provides links to resources on research, best practice, policy and funding as well to organizations working on issues affecting youth in care. It includes resources that specifically address youth aging out of foster care, as well as more general youth resources that can inform the development of supports for youth transitioning from care.
FindYouthInfo.gov was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), which is composed of representatives from 12 Federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on youth. Through the Youth Topics series, IWGYP provides information, strategies, tools, and resources for youth, families, schools and community organizations related to a variety of cross-cutting topics that affect youth, including Transition Age Youth.
- Solutions Desk: Helping Youth Transition
This website, which is a service of the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs., includes the following sections: Collaborative Models Library, Community of Practice, Funding, Transitioning Youth, Resources, and Strategic Plan for Federal Youth Policy.