Improving Outcomes for Older Youth Emphasized by President
In his proclamation supporting National Foster Care Month, President Barack Obama noted that "too many foster youth reach the age at which they must leave foster care and enter adulthood without the support of a permanent family." President Obama also referenced the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 which included, among other things, reforms aimed at improving outcomes for older youth in foster care. Today's newsletter highlights some useful tools, analyses and resources related to implementation of the older youth provisions of the law available on the Fostering Connections Resource Center website. Check out:
A benefit-cost issue brief by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago which found a 2 to 1 financial benefit to society and individuals from extending foster care to 21.
A youth-directed transition toolkit (preview available now, full toolkit to be posted June 5) for foster youth, by FosterClub with some support from the Fostering Connections Resource Center, to help youth plan as they transition from foster care into adulthood.
The Fostering Connections law gives states the option to extend Title IV-E eligibility for foster care, adoption assistance and guardianship assistance to qualifying young people up to the age of 21. Recently The Finance Project, together with the National Foster Care Coalition and the Resource Center, hosted a webinar outlining design considerations for extending IV-E eligibility beyond 18. The Designing Foster Care to 21: A Discussion Guide for State Leaders by The Finance Project and the Fostering Connections Resource Center outlines general considerations for designing foster care services and supports beyond age 18. The guide also includes case studies from two states that have recently completed planning processes for extending IV-E eligibility.
A significant factor in state conversations around extending IV-E eligibility is understanding the costs and potential revenues. Recently, The Finance Project, the National Foster Care Coalition, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and the Resource Center hosted a second webinar on estimating the fiscal impact of extending IV-E eligibility to 21, and highlighting the experiences of state leaders in Iowa and Tennessee in determining the net fiscal impact of doing so. Visit the FCRC website for additional materials, including fiscal analysis reports for Iowa and Tennessee.
Also highlighted was new research from by Mark Courtney, Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, and Amy Dworsky at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Their research examines the impact on youth as they transition out of foster care. The results are from the third phase of the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 23-24, a longitudinal investigation that has followed a sample of 732 young people from Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin as they age out of foster care and make the transition to adulthood. The report found that young adults formerly in foster care were faring poorly in areas such as educational attainment, employment, parenting, housing stability, relationships and criminal involvement, particularly in comparison to their peer group who were not in foster care.
Senate Caucus on Foster Youth Round Table
On May 17, 2010, the recently formed Senate Caucus on Foster Youth gathered a group of child welfare experts and former foster youth to hear from the young people about their experiences while in care. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) co-chair the caucus and released statements noting the importance of hearing from former foster youth to inform new policies as they are developed. The event focused on the challenges and needs of the half a million youth in foster care and provided a forum for discussing policy recommendations to improve the foster care system and better serve the youth in care. Moderated by Gary Stangler, executive director, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the round table also featured a preview of an upcoming Porch Productions documentary "From Place to Place," which follows six young people as they "age out" of the foster care system.
Fostering Connections National Summit on Older Youth
On April 16, 2010, the American Bar Association Commission on Youth at Risk, Hofstra University School of Law and the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, along with an array of other national planning organizations, sponsored a summit to help develop a blueprint of recommendations for state and national leaders to better serve transitioning youth. The day-long series of programming for the national summit brought more than 100 leaders and experts together for a dialogue on effective implementation of the new law and best practices to address the needs of the transitioning foster youth.
Save the date -- The Fostering Connections Resource Center and American Bar Association are hosting a free webinar on implementation-related issues pertaining to the education provisions of the Fostering Connections Law. Check the Fostering Connections website in June for the registration link.
Tues., July 13, 2010 2 p.m. Eastern
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Technical Assistance. The Resource Center also offers limited technical assistance and a forum for questions and answers. Write us: email@example.com
Stay Tuned! A Frequently Asked Questions Guide regarding the sibling provisions will be issued shortly. The Sibling FAQ will be posted in the Older Youth tools section of our website.