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Support Programs for Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care - Research Paper Example

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The paper discusses the difficulties faced by youth aging out of the foster care system in California at the age of 18, and to provide support and recommendations for the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, as well as extending foster care beyond the age of 18 in the state of California…
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Support Programs for Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care
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Download file to see previous pages According to the research the foster care system is designed to provide temporary homes and family support for children in crisis or children who do not have parents of their own. A number of options exist for children in foster care: some are adopted by their foster families, some find permanent homes with extended family, and others are adopted by individuals or families outside the system. According to McCoy-Roth, Freundlich and Ross, federal statistics reveal that as of 2007 roughly 85 percent of all children discharged from foster care did so as a result of one of these three occurrences. However, the 15 percent not reflected by this data spend their entire childhood and youth in the foster care system, until they officially grow out of the system when they reach the age of 18. Commonly, this phenomenon is referred to as “aging out of the system”. Youth that age out of the foster system often struggle with the transition from foster care to independent living; many feel isolated, overwhelmed, and ill-equipped for life on their own. Others lack significant and supportive relationships with adults or mentors. According to Courtney, Dworsky, Lee and Raap, the authors of the longitudinal study Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Ages 23 and 24, the propensity for drug and alcohol abuse, criminal activity, unemployment, homelessness and economic marginalization remains high among these youth. (p. 5). This policy brief focuses on the experience of youth aging out of the foster care system in California. The brief is intended for state level legislators in the departments of child welfare and social services (Bardach, 2009; Moore, 1995). This brief provides some recommendations as to how to accelerate the implementation phase of the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, commonly known as Assembly Bill 12 or AB 12, which increases the age at which youth officially leave the system from 18 to 21 (California Fostering Connections to Success, 2012; California Implementation News, 2012; Lemley, Raucher, & Fried, 2012). I. Introduction The purpose of this policy brief is to discuss the difficulties faced by youth aging out of the foster care system in California at the age of 18, and to provide support and recommendations for the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, as well as extending foster care beyond the age of 18 in the state of California (California Fostering Connections to Success, 2012; California Implementation News, 2012; Lemley, Raucher, & Fried, 2012). Extending foster care from the age of 18 to 21 represents a viable alternative to the current practice of releasing youth from the system at age 18 (California Fostering Connections to Success, 2012; California Implementation News, 2012; Lemley, Raucher, & Fried, 2012). This policy brief argues that the decision to age youth out at 18 is premature from a developmental standpoint and essentially flushes these youth into a situation that they are not developmentally equipped to navigate. The policy brief is broken down into several subsections which illustrate the need for foster care to be extended beyond the age of 18 to 21. These include the Transitional Housing Placement Plus Program (THP-Plus), the THP-Plus Statewide Implementation Project, the Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and the California Fostering Connections to Success Act or Assembly Bill 12. The brief outlines some clear and actionable recommendations f ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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