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June 2015Vol. 16, No. 5Access to Opportunities for Transitioning Youth

The journey from adolescence to adulthood can be a challenging time for any young person. For older youth in foster care transitioning to independence, this journey can be especially difficult. Youth in care may lack the support networks and healthy relationships helpful during this time of transition, and many youth encounter barriers to accessing basic resources such as housing, health care, and postsecondary education and employment opportunities. The good news is that there are programs and policies that can help.

A policy brief developed by the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) explores the challenges transitioning youth face in three specific areas of need: sustainable social capital, permanency supports, and postsecondary opportunities. The brief examines the challenges and barriers in each area and identifies promising programs and policies currently in place to assist older youth in foster care in their transition to a healthy and successful adult life.
Additionally, the brief presents several recommendations for State and Federal policymakers, service providers, researchers, and others related to:

  • Increasing investments
  • Highlighting postsecondary options
  • Systems coordination
  • Developing professional capacity
  • Engaging youth in decision-making
  • Expanding the conversation from "transitioning out of foster care" to "transitioning to opportunities" by including stakeholders from the child welfare, education, court, housing, workforce, and other related systems

Creating Access to Opportunities for Youth Transitioning From Foster Care, by E. Russ and G. Fryar, is available on the AYPF website at (1 MB).