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Funding Principles

Support Youth Transitioning from Foster Care

Funding Principles

Maximize Federal Funds. There are several federal funding sources available to states for investment in efforts to support young people in transition. 

  • The Assets for Independence Program is a discretionary grant program that funds efforts around asset building and youth transitioning from foster care.   States in partnership with a nonprofit agency are eligible.  The funding provided by the state and nonprofit partnership must be at least equal to the Federal grant amount.
  • The Chafee Education and Training Vouchers Program is a formula block grant.  The funds may be used to provide vouchers for post-secondary education and training to youth. The federal government pays 80 percent of the total amount of funds expended by the state and the state must provide matching contributions to cover the additional 20 percent of the costs.  Missouri’s Department of Health and Human Services provides Educational and Training Grants to young people interested in pursuing post secondary education.
  • The Chafee Foster Care Independence Program is a formula block grant funded at $137.9 million in FY10.  In 2009, 52 grants were made and the average grant award was $2.6 million.  Grants can be used to support a variety of areas that help youth transition to adulthood.  Funds can be utilized in efforts toward transitioning to self-sufficiency, preparation for post secondary education, financial training, housing, counseling and health services. Supported by Chafee dollars, Iowa is expanding its youth boards through a partnership between the state and Children and Families of Iowa (CFI).
  • Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR-UP) is a  discretionary project grant.  It was funded at $303 million in FY09.  The average state grant is $3.5 million.  GEAR UP is designed to increase the number of low-income students who are ready to successfully attend college.  The program provides five-year grants to states and partnerships to provide services in high-poverty middle and high schools.  Kansas utilizes GEAR UP through their Kansas Kids @ GEAR UP program.  The initiative is connected toWichitaStateUniversity and helps young people in foster care graduate from high school and prepare for enrollment in post-secondary education.
  • Fostering Connections legislation aims to help children and youth in foster care by promoting permanent families through relative guardianship and adoption, improving education and health care and extending federal support for youth up to age 21.  In Delaware, S.B. 113 allows youth exiting foster care who are provided services under the John H. Chafee Independence Act and/or the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 a legal mechanism for the Family Court to review the appropriateness of continuing such services. Extended jurisdiction may continue until the youth attains 21 years of age.

Leverage Private Funds

  • The Youth Transitions Funders Group (YTFG) is a funder collaborative committed to ensuring that, by the time they turn 25, young people are successfully connected to institutions and support systems that will enable them to lead successful adult lives.  YTFG is made up of representatives from large national foundations, corporate foundations, regional foundations, and smaller family and community foundations.  Funding collaboratives increase funding by leveraging investments by member foundations, but also by investing resources to support tool formation, technical assistance and other efforts that would be difficult for one foundation to accomplish by itself.  YTFG has made significant investments in California, Florida and Indiana.  
  • The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is the leader in supporting community efforts that create opportunities and build assets for youth transitioning out of foster care.  As a grant-making foundation, The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative has several community and state partners and is actively expanding their efforts.