On October 29th, 2014 the American Youth Policy Forum convened representatives from research, policy, and practice at the federal, state, and local levels to discuss the challenges and opportunities of serving youth in transition from foster care. Below are several highlights and resources from the day’s conversation.
Panel 1: Sustainable Social Capital
Comprehensive and individualized services with knowledgeable and trained staff can help youth from foster care as they learn to navigate the challenges of education, housing, employment, and other supports. During this panel, presenters shared research, practice, and opportunities to support youth from foster care through strategic services and interventions.
- Mary Bissell, Child Focus and Youth Transition Funders Group Foster Care Work Group (“Connected by 25: A Plan for Investing in the Social, Emotional, and Physical Well-Being of Older Youth in Foster Care”)
- Mary Lee Youth Villages Transitional Living
- Mike Leach, Director of Independent Living, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (via teleconference)
Panel 2: Permanency Supports
Youth in transition from foster care also have difficulty accessing and maintaining safe and stable housing, financial assistance, health insurance, and other basic necessities. Presenters provided a national overview of these challenges and an example of the policy options that California has utilized to address some of these needs:
- Ruthie White, National Center for Housing and Child Welfare (See her presentation here)
- Amy Lemley, John Burton Foundation, California THP+ and THP+FC
Panel 3: Postsecondary Opportunities
During this panel, participants heard about the challenges facing youth in transition from foster care who try to access and maintain post-secondary education and workforce opportunities. Panelists presented examples of policy and practice that have proven effective at supporting these students:
- Eileen McCaffrey, Foster Care to Success
- Mary Jo Sekelsky and Lori Vedder, University of Michigan Flint, MPowering My Success