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April 2011Vol. 12, No. 3Youth Port Is By, For, and About Youth in Foster Care

Youth Port is a new web section on the National Resource Center for Youth Development's (NRCYD's) website that serves as a gateway to resources, information, and tools specifically for youth who are in, about to transition out of, or were in foster care and are now independent. Among the features on the site are a "How To" section with advice on filing taxes, opportunities for internships, message boards, resources for understanding the foster care system, and links to other sites that focus on diversity and youth. In the March issue, the Spotlight topic is the iFoster program, which offers discounts at national and local retailers; membership is free to youth aged 16 to 21 who are in or transitioning out of foster care.

One goal the NRCYD hopes to achieve through Youth Port is to share stories of young people who make positive changes in their communities. Youth Port also provides links to organizations that can help them make those changes, and make connections as well, which can lead to a sense of permanency within their communities.

Young people with foster care experience who worked at NRCYD as interns, staff, and consultants made suggestions and recommendations for the name, the look-and-feel, and the content of the site. The portal is updated monthly; the center's networks and alumni of the foster care system contribute timely information and resources. Organizations in Youth Port's networks include FosterClub, Foster Care Alumni of America, the online magazine Represent, the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and others.

The Youth Port is just the beginning of a larger program for youth who were in, are in, and are transitioning out of foster care. The NRCYD is accepting applications for 25 positions for a training to create a network of young adult leaders, which it hopes to extend throughout the nation. NRCYD welcomes submissions and suggestions for Youth Port.

Many thanks to Clay Finck and Guadalupe Ortiz-Tovar of NRCYD in Tulsa, OK, for providing the information for this article. The NRCYD Federal Project Officer is Catherine Heath.