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Support Youth Transitioning from Foster Care

Youth transitioning out of foster care into adulthood face a number of challenges.  Often unable to seek emotional or financial help from their parents, young people leave care without the preparation or support needed to successfully transition to adulthood. A key way states can support youth transitioning from foster care is to extend the services provided to young people through age 21 and continue to seek permanency for young people as long as they remain in state care. It is important that older foster youth are provided with the supports they need to be successful adults, including a permanent connection to family through reunification, guardianship or adoption or a permanent connection to a committed, caring adult. However, whenever young people have experienced foster care in adolescence, their trajectory towards adulthood has been disrupted. They often need additional supports to promote their overall well-being and help them best transition into adulthood.

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These policies were developed in partnership with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative whose pioneering work, in partnership with sites across the country, has enabled youth leaving foster care make successful transitions to adulthood.

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Time for Reform: Aging Out and On Their Own, a report from the Pew Charitable Trust, combines research with the experiences of young people in foster care to offer background information, data and recommendations for policy regarding youth in transition.

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California legislation, effective January 1, 2006, allows youth in foster care to petition the juvenile court to reinstate their parents’ rights. Filed by the child’s attorney, a petition will be considered if more than three years have passed since termination of parental rights (TPR), if the child is unlikely to be adopted or does not have a permanency goal of adoption, and if there is compelling evidence that it is in the child’s best interest to overturn the TPR. Birth parents must also indicate their desire to reconnect with the youth.

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How States Can Support Older Youth in Foster Care, a report by the National Governors' Association.

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A database of child welfare policies, including older youth and kinship. Developed by Child Trends.