May 12, 2010

Key Recommendations

1.  Extend support for youth in foster care beyond age 18.

Transition to adulthood should be more gradual than it currently is for youth in foster care. Financial support, adult connection, shelter, and other safety nets should be provided in a graduated way into the early 20s for youth who need it. Youth who choose to leave state care at age 18 should have opportunities to return on the basis of need.

2. Guarantee that youth have useful emancipation plans.

Legally-mandated “transitional independent living plans,” which child welfare agencies are required to develop for each youth’s emancipation, should incorporate concrete arrangements for housing, income, connection to others, and medical coverage.

3. Create real opportunities for youth to develop skills for independence.

Everyday life skills should be taught in foster care at an earlier age and not just in a classroom setting. Youth should be provided opportunities throughout adolescence to practice tasks and skills for adulthood.

4. Help youth establish relationships that extend beyond emancipation.

To prepare youth in foster care for adulthood, the state should help them establish relationships with people who can offer guidance and support through early adulthood.

For detailed recommendations, please see page 62.