Challenges Faced By Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

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2012 Presentation by Lisa Dickson

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  • Welcome. We are here today to talk about Challenges Faced by young people “who age” out of foster care during their journey into young adulthood. First of all, what does this picture make you think of? Imagine this young person run-run-running out of foster care and taking the big LEAP out into the sky and into adulthood Our young people are Ready to Launch – but can feel like a free fall Today, we are going to explore the barriers that impede their success and RESOURCES that can improve their long-term OUTCOMES
  • My name is Lisa Dickson. I’m a former foster youth – I aged out of care in 1989. I volunteer for each of the organizations whose logos you see above. 1.) Foster Care Alumni of America is a national organization of former foster youth that exists to connect and transform. We connect the voices of foster youth, and work together to positively transform the foster care system. I was one of the founding members of the national organization, co-founded the Ohio chapter, and have served as Communications Chair since 2006. 2. ) The Ohio Youth Advisory Board (Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio) exists to be the statewide voice of former foster youth between ages 18-24. It’s an honor to serve as co-facilitator – our young people have accomplished great things – some of which I’ll be discussing during this presentation. 3. ) Ohio Reach is a statewide initiative to increase the number of foster care youth who enroll in and graduate in higher education. I’ve served as Communications Chair since this organization was established in 2007. We will be talking more today about the nuts and bolts of moving this initiative forward. 4.) But enough about me – let’s hear a bit more about you!! Introductions: (WHITEBOARD) Each participant shares their: Name Title Agency/organization One challenge that they experienced when they first moved out on their own
  • 1. Topics for Today 2. You’ve received three sets of handouts: Youth Developed Discharge Plan Resource Guide designed to accompany it Permanency Pact 3.) Sign in sheet if they want me to email them copy of ppt
  • Section of the 2012 CCAI's Foster Youth Internship Report titled, "Life's Transitions Do Not Happen Overnight:" *pg. 56 "Life's transitions are a critical part of human development." "The current foster system is designed with the expectation that the transition from adolescence into adulthood can occur overnight." "Autonomy plays a critical role in adolescent development; however... the strict rules and regulations placed on foster youth by the state, foster parents and group home staff limits the amount of independence the youth experience."
  • The first challenge that “aging out” face is: Lack of family privilege I’m not just a former foster youth – I’m also a stepmother. And, from the moment I was entrusted with my stepdaughters, I took on the charge of being a permanent emotional connection in their lives and preparing them for adulthood. It has been estimated that nearly a quarter of the cost of raising children is now provided after the age of 17. The average parent of 18-34 year olds provides over $2,000/year to support them. Half of young adults ages 18-24 in the U.S.A. live at home with their parents, according Children's Rights . Most young adults in the general population rely upon their families for assistance with a place to live, financial support and other guidance as they transition to adulthood. Meanwhile, the 25,000 young people aging out of foster care each year don't have a parent's basement to live in. They don't have anyone to co-sign for them to rent an apartment. When they go to college, they can't call "mom" and "dad" if they blow their budget and need help, and they don't have a place to spend college breaks, unless their college has taken this need into consideration.
  • We invest in our children because we want them to grow up to be productive, contributing adults. We see the unique things they have to offer the world, and we want to prepare and empower them. Ultimately, if the challenges facing foster youth aren’t addressed, it’s a cost to society. Without adequate preparation and support, emancipating foster care youth are at high risk for poverty, unemployment, chronic homelessness and incarceration. Research by the Children’s Advocacy Institute demonstrates that early investment leads to foster care youth being three times more likely to enroll in college, 65% less likely to be arrested, and a 33% reduction in unwed pregnancy. (I have attached a cost-benefit ratio).
  • This chart breaks down the issue looking at dollars and cents. It makes better economic sense to intervene during their late-teens and early-20s, a time when young people have an open mind, high level of energy and are actively engaged in the process of directing their future lives. According to Dr. Mark Courtney of the Chapin Hall Center for Children , “Every $1 invested in continued foster care supports and services results in a return of $2.40." Research by the Children’s Advocacy Institute demonstrates that early investment leads to foster care youth being three times more likely to enroll in college, 65% less likely to be arrested, and a 33% reduction in unwed pregnancy. (I have attached a cost-benefit ratio).
  • So…. Let’s Show What We Know… We are going to initially explore the Challenges Facing Youth Who Age Out of Care by playing a game called: Name That Statistic: Participants will be invited to raise their hand in order to guess the answer to a series of fill-in-the-blank statistics related to young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood. The purpose of sharing these statistics is to give up a picture of the barriers impeding the success of our young people in and from foster care as they transition into adulthood. Whiteboard: one in five former foster children report being homeless for some period of time after emancipating from foster care. 1 in 4 homeless adults is a former foster child. Counties may use up to 30% of their ILP funds for housing for emancipated foster youth.
  • one in five former foster children report being homeless for some period of time after emancipating from foster care. 1 in 4 homeless adults is a former foster child. Counties may use up to 30% of their ILP funds for housing for emancipated foster youth. Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: Classes on Leasing and Mortgages Furniture, Household Goods Rent/Deposit for Housing Deposit and First Month’s Payment for Utilities How to Obtain/Clean Credit Reports When young people age out of the foster care system without being connected with permanent family, we have often nowhere to go but the same messed-up family that landed us in foster care in the first place. Therefore it is not surprising that one in five former foster children report being homeless for some period of time after emancipating from foster care. Sadly, homeless young people often either ignored or lumped in with the rest of the adult homeless population Young adults differ from the adult homeless population , because they have unique developmental needs. Sadly, there is a lack of specialized services engage youth and effectively support them in acquiring stable housing. This is unfortunate, because with a bit of support and the right resources, it's possible to empower that young people and build them into future leaders. Investing in homeless youth is a financially wise decision, because it is cost-effective to establish programs for homeless youth between the ages of 18-25 years old. If you don't pay now, you will pay later - because the cycle will continue
  • Statistics tell a story – and they ask a question: “Whose job is it to care?” When talking to foster youth, I often ask them: -How many school changes did you have? Did the schools use the same textbook? Did your credits transfer? Who was your education liaison? Nationally: -Attend five high schools on average -With each transfer, lose 4-6 months of academic progress -65% change schools in the middle of the year -So this demystifies the higher rates of absenteeism, grade retention, special education, dropping out before graduation
  • Higher Education Interest vs. Higher Education Outcomes 75% of foster youth express a desire to attend college - BUT - Only 15% are enrolled in college prep courses in high school Less than 2% of former foster youth complete a bachelor's degree, compared with 24% of the general population Why does this matter? (let participants answer) - A bachelor's degree today is the equivalent of a high school degree in the 60s Two-thirds of all new jobs that will be created in the next 10 years will require post-secondary education - Adults who have only a high school degree are twice as likely to be unemployed as those with a bachelor's degree - A typical high school graduate, with no additional education, will earn over his/her lifetime half as much as a college graduate Read blue quote above Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: All Fees Associated with GED, ACT, SAT, and other Tests All Fees Associated with Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Deposits and Application Fees Book Fees for Post Secondary Education Opportunities (PSEO) Tutoring Credit Recovery Summer School School Participation Fees (Sports, Clubs)
  • Whiteboard: Hints Bureau of Labor Statistics, young adults between ages 18-19 years old have the highest unemployment rate The national youth employment rate is at its lowest level in 60 years. Rates of unemployment are directly related to age. Nearly four million of the nation's unemployed are under age 25 - and that number does not include the hundreds of thousands of youth who have simply given up looking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, young adults between ages 18-19 years old have the highest unemployment rate, at 25.6%. The unemployment rate for youth 16-24 years old who have not finished high school is over 30%. 50% more likely to be out-of-work and out-of-school 40% receive public assistance 62% unemployed for at least a year One-third – one-fifth don’t connect with workplace between ages 19-25 At age 24, less likely to earn a “livable income” than the general population
  • The U.S. Dept of Labor’s youth employment data is obtained from the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These numbers provide the most accurate data available of the national employment rate of youth. According Bureau of Labor Statistics, young adults between ages 16-19 years old have the highest unemployment rate, and are identified as being the population that was hit the hardest by the recession and its aftermath. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) recent budget and economic update, the percentage of people over age 16 who are working or actively seeking work has slipped fairly steadily for the past few years. After the recessions, the national youth unemployment rate reached its lowest level in 60 years The recession and lack of job opportunities have left many young people (ages 16-19) disconnected from the labor force.
  • Now, you might ask, “Why is that relevant?” Which group is overrepresented in foster care? And underrepresented in adoption
  • Between 20-30%, depending on the state Here’s what we do know, in terms of trends – reflected in the table Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: Uniforms for Jobs (Scrubs, Required Shoes, etc.) Interview Clothing Employment Inventories Resume Writing Job Preparation (Customer Service Training, Word Processing, etc) Mock Interview Preparation/Job Coaching Assistance to Job Sites (Transportation, Hands-On Support, etc.)
  • Former foster youth who lack health insurance cost states more in the long run, because they cannot afford preventative care, and seek expensive treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Midwest study and 19 year olds: One-third of the young adults in our sample reported going to the emergency room at least three times during the past 5 years, and nearly a quarter had experienced more than one hospitalization during that same period of time. Midwest study and 21 year olds: Twenty-eight percent of the young adults in our sample reported two or more emergency room visits during the past year, and 19 percent had been hospitalized at least once. Overall, the largest percentage of hospitalizations were pregnancy-related. However, if the hospitalizations of males and females are examined separately, accidents and injuries account for the largest percentage of hospitalizations among the young men (41 percent). We also asked the young adults in the Midwest Study about their ability to access health care services. Only half reported that they currently had medical insurance, and only 39 percent had insurance for dental care. In both cases, most of those who were insured were covered by Medicaid. Sixty percent of these young adults reported that they had a routine physical exam but only 40 percent reported that they had a dental exam during the past year. Overall, about one-fifth of these young adults reported that they had not received medical care and a similar proportion reported that they had not received dental care when they thought they needed it during the past year.10 Not having insurance was the main reason cited for not receiving care.11 Midwest study and 26 year olds: Over half of the Midwest Study participants reported at least one emergency room visit during the past year, and one-fifth reported being hospitalized at least once (see Table 55). The reasons cited for their most recent hospitalization varied by gender. Young women were most likely to cite pregnancy or illness; young men were most likely to cite injuries or accidents. Young adults ages 19 to 29 have had among the highest uninsured rate of any age group in the United States for many years. Foster youth are more likely than their peers in the general population to experience physical and mental health problems but are less likely to have health insurance, once they "age out" of foster care. Even when young adults live in a state where Medicaid services are provided to former former youth until age 21, they often have difficult accessing and maintaining services. Enrollment and service barriers are especially problematic for emancipated foster care youth attempting to navigate the health care system. Former foster youth who lack health insurance cost states more in the long run, because they cannot afford preventative care, and seek expensive treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Additionally, 25.2% of former foster youth have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).33 This rate is six times higher than war veterans and eight times higher than the general population Lopez, P. and Allen, P. (2007). Addressing the health needs of adolescents transitioning out of foster care. Pediatric Nursing, 33(4): 345-355. Dear Director,   Recently, the Office of Ohio Health Plans (OHP) conducted an analysis of Medicaid enrollment for youth who have aged-out of the foster care system. The results indicate a significant reduction in the number youth who are receiving Medicaid through this categorical coverage option.   Many former foster youth may be receiving Medicaid benefits under another program; however, it is not possible to identify them without notice of previous foster care status. To accurately identify the number of youth receiving benefits under categorical eligibility requires cases to be flagged individually at the time of enrollment. As such, it is essential that caseworkers complete the JFS 01958 form when securing Medicaid coverage for youth in anticipation of emancipation.  (A copy of this form is attached for your reference.)   OHP will be addressing this issue in the next Technical Assistance and Compliance video-conference on August 1st,
  • Child welfare agencies are rated by the CSFR on how well they provide foster care youth with Safety, Permanency and Well-Being. Currently, the federal government is thoughtfully considering: What exactly does "Well Being" look like? How can it be measured? Source: Bryan Samuels Commissioner, Administration on Children Youth and Families U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Two Examples of the Long-Term Impacts of Abuse and Neglect: Abuse and neglect  brain injury, malnutrition
  • Casey Family Programs’ Northwest Alumni Study found that one in four foster youth were still coping with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after leaving foster care. This is double the PTSD rates of veterans returning from recent wars, and over six times the rate among the general U.S Population According to a 2005 Harvard/Casey study , former foster children suffer PTSD at a rate twice that of Vietnam war veterans. One-fourth of foster care alumni had PTSD. The definition of PTSD is "a condition in which victims of overwhelming and uncontrollable experiences are subsequently psychologically affected by feelings of intense fear, loss of safety, loss of control, helplessness and extreme vulnerability . In children, this disorder involves disorganized and agitated behavior.“
  • Explain FCAA’s national postcard project: This postcard expresses one of the characteristics of the Culture of Foster Care: Having to beat the odds in order to succeed.
  • Section of the 2012 CCAI's Foster Youth Internship Report titled, "Life's Transitions Do Not Happen Overnight:" *pg. 56 "Life's transitions are a critical part of human development." "The current foster system is designed with the expectation that the transition from adolescence into adulthood can occur overnight." "Autonomy plays a critical role in adolescent development; however... the strict rules and regulations placed on foster youth by the state, foster parents and group home staff limits the amount of independence the youth experience."
  • We do our work with VISION and we do our work with HOPE Participants are invited to first share a challenge that can derail a young person’s success in transitioning from foster care to adulthood, and then share a resource that could have helped them succeed. Example on slide One person serves as scribe, and another person agrees to report out to group (time limit – you will report out at _____ ) Hint: While brainstorming, refer to resource list
  • We do our work with VISION and we do our work with HOPE I like the term "inter-dependence.” Because it's not a question of choosing between permanency and life skills -- our young people need BOTH
  • Wouldn’t it be great if we planned for these things ahead of time. It’s wise to have an exit strategy. One tool = a 90-day exit plan. Its definition and purpose
  • Preparing youth for the future – this is not an OPTION, this is FEDERAL LAW The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 outlines federal requirements regarding essential elements to be covered in the development of a 90-day transition plan.
  • STATE LAW The reason that the Youth Developed Discharge Plan is being piloted (in five Ohio counties) is because Ohio youth have reported NOT being provided with / involved in the development of a 90-day transition plan. “ The goal of an exit plan is to identify anticipated service needs for older youth who are in the process of transitioning out of foster care. Youth who have a comprehensive transition plan are better equipped to transition successfully from foster care to self-sufficiency. An unintended consequence of not preparing youth to exit from foster care is the youth becoming homeless.” (Missouri Dept. of Social Services)
  • Youth Access to Vital Documentation The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 outlines federal requirements regarding essential elements to be covered in the development of a 90-day transition plan. Both federal law and Ohio Administrative Code require that prior to the youth’s emancipated from foster care, they need to receive ORIGINALS (not copies) of these three documents. What Other Documentation Might Help? Letter of Verification of Dependency Immunization records Free credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com) Tribal information when applicable Death Certificates of parents, when applicable Information on registering to vote Information to males to sign up for the selective services (30 days prior to 18 or 30 days after 18) Information on any existing court fees associated with the youth’s name prior to emancipation.
  • The plan shall include information regarding: (WHITEBOARD ACTIVITY)
  • Possibly do balloon activity
  • NAME THAT RESOURCE – each logo represents an existing resource OR funding stream Dress for Success: ‘Suits to Self Sufficiency’- [email_address] Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and additional apparel when she becomes employed. After a client finds work, she can return to Dress for Success for her employment suiting, during which we attempt to provide her with enough additional apparel to mix and match for a week’s worth of outfits. Job Fair Ohio: Easy to use; lists job fairs by cities
  • In the interest of time, we are going to focus on exploring FIVE specific funding streams Housing choice vouchers: “Youth 18-21 years old who left foster care after the age of 16 and lack adequate housing.” (Congress, Oct. 2000) Housing Options Dormitories Scattered Site Apartments Supervised Apartments Boarding Houses Host Homes / Adult Roommates Shelters Subsidized Housing *Lighthouse Youth Services: room to grow
  • Tapping into and partnering with Workforce Child welfare professionals aren’t always connected with local workforce development programs Youth employment experts are often unfamiliar with the child welfare system – and unaware of the unique challenges that we face when aging out of care Director Colbert’s Connecting the Dots initiative  CROSS-TRAINING Early Employment Exposure – we want our youth to: - Connect with the workplace at a young age - Identify and develop their skills and interests, relating to jobs Participate in h ands-on work experience Be engaged in the local community This is NYTD Requirement now (workforce training, vocational training, employment opps)
  • College Cost Reduction and Access Act It amends the definition of an “independent student” by adding the following three categories:* - Student who is an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court, at any time when the student was 13 years of age or older - Student who is an emancipated minor or is in legal guardianship as determined by the court in their state of legal residence - Applicant is verified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness and self-supporting *Please note, the young person only needs to fit into one of the above categories in order to be eligible to claim independent status. Also, the act does not specify the length of time spent in foster care or the reason for exiting foster care.
  • The ETV Program, is a federally funded, state administered program, that provides grants up to $5000 per year to help former foster youth attend college and vocational training institutions. A U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen. * ETV funding is a separate allocation from the state’s Chafee Independent Living Program award. Eligibility is determined by the Ohio State Independent Living Coordinator. ETV applications and related forms need to be filled once per year
  • The ETV Program, is a federally funded, state administered program, that provides grants up to $5000 per year to help former foster youth attend college and vocational training institutions. A U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen. * ETV funding is a separate allocation from the state’s Chafee Independent Living Program award. Eligibility is determined by the Ohio State Independent Living Coordinator. ETV applications and related forms need to be filled once per year
  • Signed into Law in December 1999 Each state’s annual allocation is based on number of children in foster care (AFCARS) National Foster Care Coalition has compiled a list of FAQs re: what Chafee funding can be spent on Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: All Fees Associated with GED, ACT, SAT, and other Tests All Fees Associated with Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Deposits and Application Fees Book Fees for Post Secondary Education Opportunities (PSEO) Tutoring Credit Recovery Summer School School Participation Fees (Sports, Clubs) Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: Tuition Housing Transportation Food Medical Childcare Can Use Chafee Funding to Pay for: Uniforms for Jobs (Scrubs, Required Shoes, etc.) Interview Clothing Employment Inventories Resume Writing Job Preparation (Customer Service Training, Word Processing, etc) Mock Interview Preparation/Job Coaching Assistance to Job Sites (Transportation, Hands-On Support, etc.)
  • JFS PROCEDURAL LETTER Immunization Record - complete and up to date; •Health Records and Medical Card - allergies, hospitalizations, treatments,medications; list of all past medical exams with diagnoses (if there are any), childhood diseases; Medicaid Resources for Emancipated Foster Youth Since 2007, foster care youth who "age out" of foster care in Ohio are eligible for Medicaid until their 21st birthday.  ODJFS recently obtained data that shows very poor enrollment of these youth in Medicaid.  ODJFS recently provided training to county children service agencies to inform them of the procedures required to transition a child to the adult Medicaid program.  Click here and here for general Medicaid to 21 resources provided at the training.  Below is an overview of the forms required: Enrolling in Medicaid : The child's caseworker must complete three separate forms in order to enroll them into the adult Medicaid program. Referral For Medicaid Continuing Eligibility Review: JFS 01958 Combined Program Application: JFS 07216 Consumer Rights and Responsibilities: JFS 07236 All three forms must be completed in order for the enrollment to be processed. Maintaining Coverage Until Age 21 : If youth don't stay in touch with Medicaid, they will lose services at age 19 or 20. This is because Medicaid eligibility must be verified each year. Therefore, it is vitally important for emancipated youth to notify Ohio Medicaid whenever they change their residence, phone number, and/or email address. For Additional Support, Please Contact: Medicaid Hotline: (800) 324-8680 Medicaid email address: medicaid@jfs.ohio.gov
  • Youth need to speak candidly and articulately about what they want for their lives, not just today but for their futures. If given responsibility and adequate support they will be able to create a constructive action plan that will help them reach their goals.  They are the best advocates for themselves and must be a part of the process.
  • GOOD NEWS = resources exist to change those stats!!! 1. Annie E. Casey Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Connecting foster youth with first-time job experiences IF YOUR STATE IS A “CASEY” STATE States/cities that offer this program include: Baltimore, MD; Hartford, CN; Providence, RI; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA and Maine. 2. 1998 Workforce Investment Act WIA funds can be used for: One-Stop Centers Youth Service Programs (low-income, high risk) Residential Training Programs like Job Corps
  • I like the term "interdependence."Because it's not a question of choosing between permanency and life skills -- our young people need BOTH Goal: To create/maintain meaningful connections for youth (Erikson Stage 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation) Otherwise, youth age out with no reliable adults to advise them or provide emotional support, so when they make a mistake, its life altering, and they nothing to fall back on. A mentor would be nice….
  • What if you try to make the very best plans possible, but something falls apart along the way? If you are going to come hurtling through the sky, then obviously, you will want a SAFETY NET Safety net activity: Choose at least 3 adults that you trust. Fill in the contact information for each person in your safety net.
  • FOSTERING CONNECTIONS ACT It does take a village: During a youth panel at the 2006 Casey It's My Life conference, young people said that they needed an entire network of connections , and not just one person. It is often up to us to identify those key figures in a child’s life, and to facilitate the building of future relationships. Concurrent Permanency Planning offers caseworkers a structured approach to moving children more quickly from the uncertainty of foster care to the stability and security of a permanent family (having a back-up plan). Historically, caseworkers have been taught to plan in a straight-line, sequential fashion: first to work diligently toward reunification with the biological family; and if after a year—or two or three—reunification looks unlikely, to then switch gears and start planning for adoption or another permanency option. Unfortunately, by this time, the parents have usually become alienated from their child and the case planning process, the child will probably have to be moved from the temporary foster home to a pre-adoptive home, and the child’s length of stay in foster care has been prolonged unnecessarily. Chart the Connections: There are a variety of different ways to map out on paper who the teenager has in their lives and the level of connectedness, and safety related to those connections (timeline, circle, ecomap, genogram, connectedness map) Do not ask the youth to make a Family Tree. DO invite and include youth input. Introduction: “I don't know if you remember her but she remembers you as someone important in her life. As a social worker, I won’t always be around, but I want this information for her We’re worried about what might happen if she leaves foster care with no family connections.” (Ask for photos from childhood!!) Even if they can't parent the youth, they can provide some support to the youth. Tell them, “Your family has some responsibility for her - and here are some ways to help.” (my bio-fam could have been helpful) Reconnecting Can Be Painful Hearing that your biological father asked for a DNA test, for example… CBS interview with Leslie Stahl: Teens reunited with father -- only to discover that he was an alcoholic, their mother had died from a drug overdose and that their father has a total of 10 children, none of whom he had cared for. Imagine if you had built up hopes about your long-lost father. How he would come back into your life with a reason for being gone for so long. He was... abducted by aliens... in the Secret Service... stranded on a desert island. But, all the time he had been thinking of you, right? He had always been thinking of you. In that dream, your father isn't off fathering other children. He's not drowning his sorrows in a bottle. When dreams die, we feel sadness, anger and disappointment. That is a normal reaction to facing the rift between ideal and reality. Teens are idealists; they want adults to display perfection. It is hard to face human frailty, false promises… Preparation for permanency includes grieving the loss of people from their past, continuing to form personal identity, building trust and security through relationships, and developing an openness to forge permanent connections. Pain comes into our lives through relationships – but healing comes that way, too. Paint a realistic picture for the youth: Finding a permanent family is not fast and there is no guarantee of success. Be prepared for the youth to become impatient or discouraged. Prepare for daily questions from the youth about how the search is going. Discuss their expectations. Ask the youth if they would like to bring anything to share with the family, such as art work, crafts or a video. Take it slow: Give the youth details ahead of time, so they can mentally and emotionally prepare. Introduce the youth to the family member or other adult in a supervised setting. Accompany and support them during the visit. Make the first visit short and fun – and, if necessary, shorten visits to minimize stress and anxiety (my father’s birthday). Debrief after: Debrief after the meeting. Don’t minimize the complexity of a youth's post-visit feelings. Listen to and validate youth concerns and reactions, and recognize them as a part of the process. Adults cope with impermanence by building on an accrued sense of self-reliance and by anticipating and planning for a time of greater constancy. Teens in foster care have a backlog of painful memories to fall back on… (vs. RC: secure base)
  • Permanency PactYouth transitioning from foster care are often unsure who they can count on for ongoing support. Many of their significant relationships with adults have been based on professional connections which will terminate once the transition from care is completed. It is critical to the youth’s success to identify those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond the transition from care. Clarifying exactly what the various supports will include can help to avoid gaps in the youth’s safety net and misunderstandings between the youth and the supportive adult(s).Suggested Supports include: a home for the holidays, a place to do laundry, emergency place to stay, food/occasional meals, care package at college, employment opportunity, job search assistance, career counseling, housing hunt, recreational activities, mentor, transportation, educational assistance, relationship counseling, assistance with medical issues, storage, motivation, someone to discuss problems with, a phone to use, a computer to use, clothing, spiritual support, legal advise, etc.Copies of the Permanency Pact for each of the adults who has indicated a willingness to provide support should be made for the youth and placed in the Health and Education Passport, a document distributed to youth when they age out of care.
  • It is critical to the youth’s success to identify those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond the transition from care. Clarifying exactly what the various supports will include can help to avoid gaps in the youth’s safety net and misunderstandings between the youth and the supportive adult(s). Permanency PactYouth transitioning from foster care are often unsure who they can count on for ongoing support. Many of their significant relationships with adults have been based on professional connections which will terminate once the transition from care is completed. It is critical to the youth’s success to identify those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond the transition from care. Clarifying exactly what the various supports will include can help to avoid gaps in the youth’s safety net and misunderstandings between the youth and the supportive adult(s).Suggested Supports include: a home for the holidays, a place to do laundry, emergency place to stay, food/occasional meals, care package at college, employment opportunity, job search assistance, career counseling, housing hunt, recreational activities, mentor, transportation, educational assistance, relationship counseling, assistance with medical issues, storage, motivation, someone to discuss problems with, a phone to use, a computer to use, clothing, spiritual support, legal advise, etc.Copies of the Permanency Pact for each of the adults who has indicated a willingness to provide support should be made for the youth and placed in the Health and Education Passport, a document distributed to youth when they age out of care.
  • If I could leave you with a parting message, it would be that our young people today are the adults of tomorrow. We have the opportunity to positively impact their future, and send them on a trajectory toward a successful young adulthood. Just like with our own children, they might stumble along the way – but with identified means of emotional support, they can make it through the storms of their lives, and continue to soar into their future.
  • Aged out 16 years old , started college : brain-smart but no common sense Common sense isn’t born to you – it’s something somebody TEACHES you or that you LEARN over time And I had just suddenly gone from TOTAL RESTRICTION to TOTAL FREEDOM Age 17 – “Janice” – rescue her, save her (not uncommon II bio-mom, siblings) No one told me the AIRMASK analogy It was like I was DROWNING and trying to keep other people afloat (taking care of myself felt “selfish” at the time) Age 19 – still in college, switching majors Great circle of friends – Methodist dorm – weren’t stealing money from me
  • Fast-forward a couple years: At what point was I a statistic? And when did I become a survivor?
  • Challenges Faced By Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

    1. 1. Challenges Faced by Aging Out Youth
    2. 2. Topics for TodayI. IntroductionsII. Challenges Facing Youth Who “Age Out” of CareIII. Overcoming Barriers to Youth SuccessIV. Exit Plans and Other Federal Interventions to Improve Youth OutcomesV. State and Local Resources to Support Youth in TransitionVI. Permanency PactsVII. Closing and Evaluation
    3. 3. Life’s Transitions DoNot Happen OvernightRecommended Reading: Congressional Coalition onAdoption Institute’s 2012 Foster Youth Internship Report
    4. 4. Lack of Family Privilege
    5. 5. Front-End Investment vs. Long-Term CostsSource: Mark Courtney, Chapin Hall Center for Children. Costsand Benefits of Extending Foster Care Until Age 21 (2009).
    6. 6. Society’s dividends if foster youth succeedSource: Children’s Advocacy Institute, University of San Diego School of Law.
    7. 7. Name That Statistic: Housing QuestionsPercentage of foster care youth who reportexperiencing homelessness after “aging out”of care: ____Percentage of homeless adults who spenttime in foster care as children: ____Percentage of Chafee funds that counties canuse for funds for housing for emancipatedfoster youth: ____
    8. 8. Housing Outcomes – Without SupportPercentage of foster care youth who reportexperiencing homelessness after “aging out”of care: 20%Percentage of homeless adults who spenttime in foster care as children: 25%Percentage of Chafee funds that counties canuse for funds for housing for emancipatedfoster youth: 30%
    9. 9. Name That Statistic: Education QuestionsPercentage of foster care youth who expressa desire to attend college: ____Percentage of foster youth who are enrolled incollege prep courses: ____Percentage of foster youth who graduate fromcollege: ____
    10. 10. Higher Education OutcomesPercentage of foster care youth who expressa desire to attend college: 75%Percentage of foster youth who are enrolled incollege prep courses: 15%Percentage of foster youth who graduate fromcollege: Less than 2% (vs. 24% of the general pop.) Source: Cost Avoidance: Bolstering the Economic Case for Investing in Youth Aging Out of Foster Care. Cutler Consulting and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, 2009.
    11. 11. Name That Statistic: Workforce QuestionsNational youth employment rate: ____The current national employment rate forAfrican American males between ages 16 to19: ____Percentage of former foster youth who are notconnected to the job market by age 24: ____
    12. 12. National Youth Employment RateAccording the Bureau ofLabor Statistics, youthbetween ages 16-19were hardest hit by therecession and itsaftermath (chart).As of August 2012, thenational youthemployment rate hasdecreased further, and isnow 28.9%* United States Department ofLabor, August 2012
    13. 13. National employment rate for African American males between ages 16 to 19: 24.9%Source:CRS Report forCongress,CongressionalResearchService,May 10, 2012
    14. 14. Percentage of former foster youth who are notconnected to the job market by age 24: 20 – 30% Source: Chapin Hall Issue Brief : Employment of Former Foster Youth as Youth Adults: Results from the Midwest Study (2010)
    15. 15. Name That Statistic: Health QuestionsTop two reasons why children enter fostercare: ____Percentage of former foster youth whoexperience PTSD: ____National percentage of young people, ages18-24 who reported lack of access tohealthcare due to no medical insurance: ____
    16. 16. Top two reasons why children enter foster care: Abuse and Neglect
    17. 17. Percentage of former foster youth who experience PTSD: 65% Source: Casey Family Programs’ Northwest Alumni Study, 2003
    18. 18. National percentage of young people, ages 18-24 whoreported lack of access to healthcare due to no medicalinsurance: 65%
    19. 19. Challenges FacingYouth Who “Age Out” of Care Foster Care Alumni of America’s “Culture of Foster Care” Postcard Project
    20. 20. Point of Transition:Child and Adult Systems Housing Vocational Rehabilitation Substance AbuseJuvenile Justice Criminal JusticeSpecial EducationChild WelfareChild Mental Health Adult Mental Health Disconnection
    21. 21. Group Activity Youth-In-CrisisOff - Track On - TrackYouth is homeless Transitional housingDisconnected young person Workforce and/or Higher EdNo healthcare Enrolled in Medicaid
    22. 22. Our Youth Lack Two Things1. Preparation2. A Safety Net
    23. 23. What’s an ExitPlan? *a.k.a. • “Discharge/Case-Closing Plan” • “Self-Sufficiency/Emancipation Plan” • “Transition Plan” • “Personalized Transition Plan”
    24. 24. Federal Legislation Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 Title II, Section 202• Mandates that 90 days prior to emancipation from foster care, “a caseworker on the staff of the State agency, and, as appropriate, other representatives of the child provide the child with assistance and support in developing a transition plan that is personalized at the direction of the child, includes specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors and continuing support services, and work force supports and employment services, and is as detailed as the child may elect.”
    25. 25. Ohio Administrative Code• Ninety days prior to the youth’s emancipation from the agency’s custody, the PCSA or PCPA shall work with the youth to develop a final transition plan.• The plan shall be youth-driven and as detailed as the youth chooses.
    26. 26. Vital Documents: Prior to the youth’s emancipation from the agency’s custody, the PCSA or PCPA shall coordinate with the following agencies, to obtain necessary documents:• an original birth certificate• an original social security card• a current state identification card *OAC 5101:2-42-19: “Requirements for the provision of independent living services to youth in custody”
    27. 27. Essential Elements:• Post-Emancipation Services (if available)• Healthcare; insurance, power of attorney• Higher Ed; secondary, post-secondary• Housing; obtaining, paying for• Budgeting; credit report• Selective Services (males must register)• Existing Court Fees (preexisting)• Existing Benefits; i.e. Social Security
    28. 28. g Ac t JugglinLif e As A
    29. 29. “Name That Logo”
    30. 30. What are FUP Vouchers?Housing Choice Vouchers• “Youth 18-21 years old who left foster care after the age of 16 and lack adequate housing.” (Congress, Oct. 2000)• Requires local partnership between public housing authorities and public child welfare agencies.
    31. 31. 1998 Workforce Investment ActWIA funds can be used for:• One-Stop Centers• Youth Service Programs (low-income, high risk)• Residential Training Programs like Job Corps
    32. 32. Definition of an “Independent Student”Three categories:• Student who is an orphan, in foster care, or a ward of the court, at any time when the student was 13 years of age or older• Student who is an emancipated minor or is in legal guardianship as determined by the court in their state of legal residence• Applicant is verified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of homelessness and self-supporting2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act
    33. 33. Benefits for eligible foster care youth• The ETV program is a federally-funded, state-administered program that provides grants up to $5,000 per year to assist former foster youth pursing higher education.• This includes college and vocational training institutions.• Funds can be used for: Tuition, books, textbooks, and living expenses.• To learn more, visit: ohio@statevoucher.org
    34. 34. Eligibility for ETV FundsA current, or former foster youth who: – Was in foster care on their 18th birthday and aged out at that time; OR – Was adopted from foster care with the adoption finalized AFTER his/her 16th birthday; OR – Will have his/her foster care case closed between the ages of 18 and 21.• At least 18, but younger than 21, to apply for the first time.• Already accepted or enrolled in a degree, certificate or other accredited program at a college, university, technical, vocational school.• To remain eligible for ETV funding, students must show progress toward a degree or certificate.• Students remain eligible for ETV up to age 23 if they received ETV funding prior to their 21st birthday.
    35. 35. John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence ProgramChafee funding can be used to pay for:•Housing (up to 30% of allocation)•College Textbooks•Transportation•Credit Recovery•All fees associated with GED, SAT, ACT•All fees associated with Post SecondaryEducation Enrollment•And more….
    36. 36. B -E-G-I-N
    37. 37. Healthcare• FCASPL 183 (Ind. Living Transition Plans)• Family, Children, and Adult Services Procedure Letter No. 183, sent out by Director Lumpkin on October 5, 2009• The plan must include a completed Medicaid application
    38. 38. Involving Youth Voice in Plans for Their Future
    39. 39. Empowering Youthto Plan for the Future
    40. 40. Interdependence “The blending of the worlds of permanency and independent living Is imperative if our youth are ever to be adequately prepared for life, love and work in adulthood.”Recommended Reading: Transitioning Youth: Blending the Worlds of Permanencyand Independent Living. The Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice.
    41. 41. Who werethe top three people in your Safety Net and why?
    42. 42. Copyright Lisa Dickson
    43. 43. Permanency Pact:
    44. 44. What exactlycan I rely on you for? It is critical to the youth’s success to identify those adults who will continue to provide various supports through and beyond the transition from care. Clarifying exactly what the various supports will include can help to avoid gaps in the youth’s safety net and misunderstandings between the youth and the supportive adult(s).• A home for the holidays• A place to do laundry• An emergency place to stay• Care packages while in college• Storage• Someone to discuss problems with• A phone or computer to use
    45. 45. 12 years old Enter foster care 14 years old All-girls group home16 years oldCo-ed grouphome,Miscarriage
    46. 46. 17 years old: college sophomore, evicted, homeless, high-risk behaviors19 years oldcollege,broke,no medicalinsurance
    47. 47. Wife and (step)mother
    48. 48. Planning for the Future

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