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December/January 2024Vol. 24, No. 10Webinar on Meeting the Complex Needs of Youth Exiting Foster Care

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness Fellows Programs recently held a webinar on the needs and challenges of transition-age youth and the role state policy can play in affecting outcomes.

Based on the research and findings from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s report Fostering Youth Transitions 2023, webinar presenters begin with an overview of the link between foster care and youth homelessness. With data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) and the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), they provide a "snapshot" of young people in foster care in the United States and their needs.

Presenters also outline the following three key data points, citing AFCARS, NYTD, and other supporting data, intended to help guide state policymakers in identifying opportunities to improve approaches to serving this population of youth:

  • Data point 1: Child welfare systems are unable to find permanent families for many youth in care.
  • Data point 2: Although extended foster care improves youth outcomes, participation is low.
  • Data point 3: Transition services are not delivered to many eligible young people.

The webinar also features a legislative case study discussion led by the two Arkansas representatives who sponsored a bipartisan bill, which was passed in 2023, to support transition-age youth. Additional recent legislative examples follow and address locating and supporting kinship caregivers, promoting extended foster care, and more.

Access the webinar, “A Decade of Opportunity: Meeting the Complex Needs of Youth Exiting Foster Care,” including the presentation slides, on the NCSL website.

Related item: The Annie E. Casey Foundation's report Fostering Youth Transitions 2023 was featured in an article in the September 2023 issue of CBX.