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March 2021Vol. 22, No. 3Helping Youth Prepare for the Transition to Adulthood

Youth who at risk of transitioning out of care because of their age may face many challenges. Some may not have had access to the same supports that their peers not in care have had and may be lacking in skills that will help them live successful, thriving, and independent lives as adults. Others may have had adverse childhood experiences that negatively affected their development. Foster parents play a crucial role in ensuring these youth learn the skills they need and in being a source of positive, stable support after their time in foster care has ended. FosterClub created an online course, "Helping Youth Prepare for the Transition to Adulthood," to better prepare foster parents for that role.

This course consists of five steps to help educate foster parents on the importance of helping youth build a strong foundation for a successful transition to adulthood. In this course, parents are expected to learn about the unique challenges that youth in foster care can face when exiting care, how they can mitigate some of these challenges, resources available to them, and the vital role that they play in helping youth in foster care prepare to transition to adulthood. Those who take this course are expected to do the following:

  • Read an article featuring a youth's perspective about aging out of foster care unprepared. The article details the hardships the youth faced after aging out without a support network or the required skills as well as what could be done to help prevent other youth from facing the same challenges
  • Review a list 21 items teens should accomplish before leaving care. It includes information about programs they could find useful, tips on what paperwork and documentation they should have, and more. It also emphasizes the importance of having and building a support network.
  • Read about the importance of involving youth in their transition planning and ensuring they are educated about the available benefits at the right time, how to balance relationships, and basic life skills.
  • Review Child Welfare Information Gateway's Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents. This factsheet for families provides guidance on how to help youth transition, how the adolescent brain develops, how that development affects behavior and decision-making, and resources for concrete supports and more information.
  • Join the discussion and answer the question "When do you think a young person should begin their transition plan?" Foster parents can see what others in their position have learned and what their answers are, and they can contribute their perspective.

The FosterClub course is free and worth 2.5 credit hours.