Presentation on theme: "Aging out of Foster Care Transitions to Adulthood."— Presentation transcript:
Aging out of Foster Care Transitions to Adulthood
Facts O Approximately 20,000 youth age out of foster care each year. O With the exception of incarcerated youth, foster youth are the only group that is involuntarily separated from their families through government intervention.
Facts O The primary purpose of this separation is to protect youth from harm by their caregivers, O State decides when these 20,000 foster youth are ready to be on their own
Who are youth in foster care? O Roughly 500,000 youth live in foster care O 3/5 children of color O 51% male O Median age of 10 O Half in non-family, 24% kinship, 17% group homes
Why do they enter? O State decision due to O Abuse O Neglect O Dependency O Typically try to intervene before removal O Prior to removal there’s a “permanency plan” O If impossible, find home
What happens to youth in foster care? O Vast majority find permanent home O 85% adopted or w legal guardian O Some are emancipated into independent living, usually b/c they reached 18
Ouctomes O 37% of foster youth aged 17–20 had not completed high school degree or received a GED. They more often O suffer fm mental health problems O become involved in crime O are victims of crime O frequently homeless. O former foster youth are more likely to former foster youth are more likely to O be employed than their peers be employed than their peers O rely on public assistance; and O Live in poverty O Have children outside of marriage O Have marital problems.
Implications for Policy O Given prolonged transition to adulthood, states should provide extended assistance O Parents provide 38K between 18-34. Unwise to cutoff at 18 O Extending care past 19 results in improved educational, health, and mental health outcomes
Older youth in Foster Care O majority are in care for a relatively short time O Only about 7% of youth in out-of-home care “age out” of care
But different from younger… O Older youth (aged 16–18) are O more likely to be living in group homes (the least “family-like” settings). O Youth in these settings are also less likely to form the kind of lasting relationships with responsible adults O care facilities are typically staffed by relatively young shift workers with high turnover.
Chaffe Act O The main program that supports youth during this transition is the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, O commonly known as the Chafee Act, it provides $140 million in funding per year. O (mental health services O life skills O Mentoring O employment preparation O education, and others), O stipends for housing, O extended Medicaid eligibility O through age 21 at state option. O valuable to foster youth, who often must contend with mental health issues arising from their traumatic pasts
Chaffe (1999) O Medicaid was only available to prior O provides states funding for vouchers for education and training to youth who O have aged out of foster care O have been adopted from the public foster care system after age 16.
In reality... O Uneven use of services O Not much $ per youth ($1400) O Programs reinvent the wheel O Target population, program misses: O many foster youth who are discharged from care before age 18 to their family of origin, usually a parent. O Some of the most vulnerable, given their longer turbulent family histories. O ruaways from foster care before they turn 18.
Fostering Connection to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act O Signed into law in 2008 (went into effect 2011) O extends federal support for youth to age 21
Lack of Safety Net O Since 1985 policies have given states more flexibility and money for youth 18-21, but most don’t provide past 18 O 90% still don’t receive services permitted by law O Often lose health care at 18
Foster Connections Act O Provides care, housing, and federally distributed financial support to all youth 18- 21 so long as youth are O Completing high school or equivalent O Employed O Enrolled in a vocational program O Requires that youth meet with caseworker prior to exiting the system Requires that youth meet with caseworker prior to exiting the system