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Dec/Jan 2010Vol. 10, No. 10Cities Can Improve Outcomes for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

Older youth transitioning from foster care to independent living face a number of challenges, including the risk of becoming homeless, dropping out of school, being unemployed and depending on public assistance, having children at a young age, or engaging in criminal activities. Although city governments do not manage the foster care system, city leaders are becoming aware of the impact that youth who are aging out of foster care have on their communities and what can be done to support them.

The Municipal Action Guide on Supporting Foster Youth Transitions to Adulthood from the National League of Cities offers strategies and steps that city leaders can adopt to address the needs of transitioning foster youth and to improve communities. Recommendations include:

  • Gather statistics on local foster youth transitions and use this information to set goals and track progress.
  • Connect transitioning foster youth to existing programs and services.
  • Make the case for supporting foster youth transitions to adulthood.
  • Take a cross-system approach to service planning and delivery.

The guide also includes examples of cities' strategies in the areas of housing assistance, employment services, and educational transitions. Philadelphia's Achieving Independence Center is described as an example of one city's way to provide multiple services for transitioning youth in one building.

The Municipal Action Guide on Supporting Foster Youth Transitions to Adulthood, by Carlos Becerra and Andrew Moore, is available on the National League of Cities website: (756 KB)