• July/August 2001
  • Vol. 2, No. 4

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Tools for Independent Living

The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has several new publications available directed at helping foster care youth in their transition to adulthood and independence.

Toolbox No. 1: Expanding the Role of Foster Parents in Achieving Permanency for Children focuses on practical ways in which best child welfare practice can be incorporated into the recruitment, training, and support of foster parents. It also looks at ways that agencies can enhance the role of foster parents in a changing child welfare system, viewing them as an essential part of a professional team in determining the best long-term plan for children in their care.

Toolbox No. 2: Using Visitation to Support Permanency presents the best professional child welfare practice in planning and implementing visitation between children in out-of-home care and their parents, within the context of current Federal legislation emphasizing permanency planning. This toolbox contains aids that practitioners can use quickly, easily, and meaningfully.

Improving Transitions to Adulthood summarizes overall findings from a 1998 CWLA survey of organizations that provide services and supports to former foster children. It also summarizes proceedings from a meeting with representatives from the Casey Family Services, former foster youths, and representatives from community-based organizations working with former foster youths. The report includes recommendations for strengthening the overall service system to facilitate successful long-term outcomes for foster youth.

The WAY Program: An Independent Living/Aftercare Program for Youth Leaving the Foster Care System and Other High Risk Youth shares the results of a 15-year study showing what happens to at-risk youth leaving residential treatment who have been provided long-term follow up services focused on school, work, and personal development. The study found low attrition rates, strong school performance, strong employment experience, and overall evidence that young people in the Work Appreciation Program (WAY) are on a path to self-sufficiency. (See the Special Section on National Foster Care Month in the May 2001 issue of the CB Express for an article on the WAY Program.)

Preparing Youth for Long-Term Success: Proceedings from the Casey Family Program National Independent Living Forum captures the proceedings of the Independent Living Forum sponsored by Casey Family Programs in June 1999 to address the concerns of youth aging out of foster care. Recent research has pointed to chronic problems such as higher rates of unemployment and homelessness and lower levels of education. This book presents the knowledge and challenges that emerged from this forum, which was designed to address these concerns and increase communication and collaboration among researchers, practitioners and policymakers.

Contact CWLA at 800-407-6273 or visit the CWLA website at http://www.cwla.org/pubs for information on how to obtain these publications.

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