May 2002Vol. 3, No. 4Journal Spotlights Transitioning Foster Youth
How can communities and child welfare agencies help youth transition from foster care to independent living? The most recent issue of AdvoCasey, the Annie E. Casey Foundation's magazine, considers that question.
One article, "A Special Report on Foster Teens in Transition: Fostered or Forgotten?" spotlights policies that work"”and policies that don't"”by illustrating the programs of one State, New Jersey. Author Dick Mendel points out that in New Jersey"”as in some other States"”foster families, group home caretakers, and caseworkers often don't teach foster youth essential life skills. One expert interviewed by Mendel likens the situation to teaching driver's education without a car.
The article also notes positive steps being taken in New Jersey to improve services to foster youth, including State funding for emergency shelters and transitional housing as well as extension of Medicaid health coverage for teens who age out of foster care.
A second article, "Who Else is Making a Difference for Foster Youth in Transition? Four Models Worth Watching" offers brief profiles of programs in San Antonio, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Baltimore, Maryland; and Connecticut. In San Antonio, the Community Transition Services Center aims to give foster youth "one-stop shopping for a whole continuum of services." Lighthouse Youth Services in Cincinnati provides youth with various types of transitional housing and training in independent living. In Baltimore, the UPS School-to-Career partnership provides foster youth with steady jobs at a living wage, tuition reimbursement, and counseling support. Finally, the article spotlights Connecticut, which has a variety of services based on a comprehensive long-range plan to assist youth in the transition out of foster care.
The entire issue can be downloaded at AdvoCasey (http://www.aecf.org/publications/advocasey/fall2001/index.htm).
Search the archives of the Children's Bureau Express for other articles on foster youth transitioning to independence at http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/art_search.cfm
The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 offers grants to States to help current and former foster care youth gain self-sufficiency. More information on the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independent Program can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/programs_fund/index.htm#state#3.