The Foster Youth Advocacy Project: Removing Barriers to Successful Independent Living
There are currently more than half a million children in foster care in the United States. Millions more will come into the system in the next few years. For thousands of foster children in their teens, adoption prospects are slim. In 2006 alone, 26,000 young adults left the nation’s foster care systems without the safety and stability of a permanent family. Youth who leave the foster care system without a family to rely on are much more likely to experience negative outcomes, including poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and mental or physical illness. These youth often lack the life skills and the educational base necessary for successful, independent lives. Further complicating already difficult lives, access to services that will assist in the transition to independent living may be difficult or even impossible.
The Foster Youth Advocacy Center is intended to address these needs and to provide critical support, counseling, and advocacy to youth who will likely age out of the child protection system without permanent families. In a multidisciplinary clinical setting, foster youth will have access to services and advocacy in relation to independent living, with counsel and assistance provided for such things as negotiating leases, applying for financial aid for higher education, accessing health care, getting public benefits.
Specific goals of the initiative are to equip and support foster youth in:
• Understanding court and planning processes and the advantages that may flow from remaining in care beyond age 18;
• Participating in case planning and family group decision making conferences;
• Participating in the development of a permanency and transition plan;
• Engaging in self-directed planning for the future in advance of the transition age;
• Developing skills in self advocacy within the court system, community, and for future independence
Click on the links below for resources aimed at to helping you support foster youth in transition:
JUDGES AND COURT PERSONNEL
FOSTER YOUTH IN TRANSITION