1.6 Improving Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care


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1.6 Improving Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Speaker: Brenda Fonseca

Nearly 28,000 youth emancipated from foster care in 2010, and it is imperative that they have access to services, affordable housing options, education, and employment to prepare them to live independently. Communities that have extended foster care to older youth under the Fostering Connections Act and that are creatively using resources to increase housing opportunities will discuss their successes and lessons learned.

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1.6 Improving Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

  1. 1. A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO PROVIDEHOUSING OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH AGING OUT OF THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. Brenda R. Fonseca Deputy Director of Housing ProgramsSouthern Nevada Regional Housing Authority bfonseca@snvrha.org 702-922-6958 1 1
  2. 2. “Can’t Do It Alone”This title, which is from the Child Welfare Leagueof America’s 2004 booklet, says it all!!Collaborations are a “must” solution.“Research documents that youth transitioning outof the foster care system experience a variety ofnegative outcomes, including homelessness.”Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Administratorsnationwide are in a position to make a difference. 2
  3. 3. Need for Preference / Vouchers As we are all aware, there is a great need for affordable housing throughout our nation. Those of you that work directly with Child and Family Services know first hand that the need for permanent housing for youth aging out of the Foster Care system is the missing link in preventing homelessness for many youth. 3
  4. 4. Proactive Measure to PreventHomelessness As a proactive measure, the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority created a local waitlist preference for its Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program for foster youth aging out of the Foster Care System. With the success of the first ten youth, we have increased the allocation to 20 per year. We have successfully assisted 43 youth aging out of the foster care system. How many former Foster Youth could your agency help???? 4
  5. 5. Proactive Measure to PreventHomelessness Unlike Family Unification Program (FUP) Vouchers that are only allowed to assist foster youth for 18 months, these are regular vouchers with no time limits attached!! Jointly, we can address permanent housing for youth nationwide, including working with HUD staff to address the issue in the FUP program which limits the use of FUP vouchers to 18 months. All youth must be referred by the Department of Child and Family Services and meet the pre-establish criteria, including HUD requirements for all voucher recipients. 5
  6. 6. Permanent Housing vs. TransitionalHousing Stable permanent housing must be established for youth aging out of the Foster Care system in our country. Failure to address this will result in increased homelessness especially in the current economic environment. Stable housing results in stable employment and self-sufficiency. 6
  7. 7. Steps to Implement Program After establishing this concept, we contacted HUD Headquarters in Washington, DC to ensure that our agency would not be violating any HUD regulations governing the HCV Program or Fair Housing policy. Once we received HUD’s approval, we contacted our County Commissioner requesting his support of the endeavor by arranging a meeting with the county child welfare administrator. 7 7
  8. 8. Steps to Implement Program The Child Welfare Administrators were excited about this endeavor, as permanent housing is a primary missing link in their supportive services plan. 8
  9. 9. Program CriteriaYouth must be at least 18 years of age or anemancipated youth.Youth are encouraged to participate in continuedsupportive services, such as case management,including budgeting; housekeeping; and other self-sufficiency referral services.A preference for enrollment in our agency’s FamilySelf-Sufficiency Program was also established. 9 9
  10. 10. Expanding Partnership The program partners have expanded to include: United Way The Casey Foundation Nevada’s Workforce Investment Board Olive Crest Project-Sunshine Department of Family Services (DFS) Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority These agencies along with DFS staff are providing on-going case management including job training/placement; budgeting, and 10 10 self-sufficiency assistance.
  11. 11. Ensuring the Partnership Works Scheduled several meetings to determine the pre- screening and eligibility criteria of the HCV Program as well as eligibility for the preferences are understood by all parties. Staff from DFS attended several HCV briefings which were held for other HCV recipients to ensure they gained a clear understanding of the HCV program requirements prior to the first voucher being issued to the youths. DFS and SNRHA both assigned lead persons to coordinate the services between agencies. 11
  12. 12. A Four Way Partnership ExpandsServices The idea of this program escalated rapidly into a great partnership between United Way and Nevada’s Workforce Investment Board. A Request for Purchase (RFP) was issued to a non-profit organization to provide job training and placement for these youth; as well as additional case management. The award was for over $400,000.00!!! 12
  13. 13. Job TrainingThe recipient of the RFP was Olive Crest.They evaluated the status of each youthparticipating in this program, provided jobtraining and placement to include a 90 dayon-the-job training with wages paid via thegrant to companies willing to participate.Olive Crest worked with all parties tocomplete logic models to documentoutcomes of this program. 13
  14. 14. Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) To ensure the successful transition of each youth in becoming truly self- sufficient, we created a preference for them for admission into our FSS program. 14
  15. 15. Lessons Learned to Date Better upfront screening of referrals More DFS staff upfront training Need for more monitoring; including linking services. 15
  16. 16. Photos of First Selected Foster Youth(Left: Commissioner Lawrence Weekly) 16
  17. 17. Photos of Youth at their HCVBriefing to be Issued A Voucher 17
  18. 18. Memorandums of Understanding(MOUs) I will provide a copy of the MOU used to established the partnership with DFS and our expanded partnership with United Way, Workforce Investment, Olive Crest, and Project Sunshine upon request. Please send an e-mail to me at bfonseca@snvrha.org to request a copy and language in our Administrative Plan relating to this program. 18
  19. 19. Hear their plea(s)… 19
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  23. 23. Let’s Make a Difference! As HCV Administrators and Commissioners, we develop policies. Let’s start implementing policies that are proactive in serving our communities. Isn’t this a great way to start? 23
  24. 24. Contact Information Brenda R. Fonseca Deputy Director of Housing Programs (702) 922-6958 email: bfonseca@snvrha.org 24
  25. 25. Questions 25