March 2011Vol. 12, No. 2Summit Report on Fostering Connections
In April 2010, the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Youth at Risk held a summit to discuss ways to leverage the Fostering Connections Act to improve outcomes for youth transitioning out of foster care to independence. More than 100 child welfare professionals, judges, attorneys, advocates, and youth met to hear experts and to assemble in working groups to review the challenges and make concrete recommendations. The keynote speaker was Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, a leading sponsor of the original Fostering Connections Act legislation.
A report on the summit was recently released that describes the resulting recommendations. The report, Charting a Better Future for Transitioning Foster Youth, presents the 56 recommendations in terms of the eight working-group topics:
- Permanency for Older Youth
- Courts and the Legal Process
- Housing and Placement
- Education and Employment
- Health and Mental Health
- Crossover Youth (youth involved with child welfare and delinquency)
- Youth Engagement and Youth Focused Systems
- State Implementation of the Fostering Connections Act
The report notes that the majority of recommendations followed three themes:
- Youth need to be involved in decisions that concern them.
- States implementing the Fostering Connections Act should make major changes in the ways that older youth in foster care are served.
- Data should be collected and used to document continuous improvement of child welfare and court services for older youth.
In addition to the recommendations, the report includes five extensive appendices that address the summit events, participants, speaker remarks, Fostering Connections resources, and relevant ABA policies.
Download the full report from the ABA website:
http://www.isc.idaho.gov/childprotection/PDFs/Chartering%20a%20Better%20Future%20for%20Transitioning%20Foster%20Youth.pdf (3.88 MB)