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The issues confronting adolescents preparing for independent living

  2. INTRODUCTION • Entering adulthood is an extremely daunting and stressful time for most teenagers. Fortunately the majority of teenagers have support networks to provide them with guidance to transition into this next stage of their life. In most family settings adolescents are taught essential life skills such as cooking, maintaining a home, how to search for a job, and management of finances. These adolescents can ease into adulthood, with the secure knowledge that they have someone to back them up if they do not immediately succeed. They do not have a time limit where they are automatically expected to become an adult.
  3. • Every year approximately 20,000 18-year-old youth exit the foster care system with the expectation that they will be self-sufficient. A large percentage of these young people have spent a great deal of their youth moving from one foster home to another. Most of these youth never reunite with their family. Having not received the support and training to prepare them for the life challenges that are in front of them, they are often unprepared for life after foster care. As a result these young people encounter struggles with homelessness, difficulty securing employment, incarceration, and pregnancy. • On December 14, 1999 President Clinton signed into law The Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, which increases federal support to states for independent living programs.
  4. THE FOSTER CARE INDEPENDENCE ACT OF 1999 – “THE CHAFEE ACT” Following are the provisions of the act: • Assist youths to make the transition from foster care to independent living. • Doubled the Independent Living Program federal funding from $70 million to $140 million a year. • Funds can be used to help youths make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency by offering them the education, vocational and employment training necessary to obtain employment and/or prepare for post secondary education, training in daily living skills, substance abuse prevention, pregnancy prevention and preventive health activities, and connections to dedicated adults. • States must contribute a 20 percent state match for Independent Living Program funds. • States must use federal training funds (authorized by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act) to help foster parents, adoptive parents, group home workers, and case managers to address issues confronting adolescents preparing for independent living.
  5. Recognizes the need for special help for young people ages 18 to 21 who have left foster care. • States must use some portion of their funds for assistance and services for older youths who have left foster care but have not reached age 21. • States can use up to 30 percent of their Independent Living Program funds for room and board for youths ages 18 to 21 who have left foster care. • States may extend Medicaid to 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who have been emancipated from foster care. Access to the new independent living funds is not contingent upon states exercising that option. Offers states greater flexibility in designing their independent living programs. • States can serve children of various ages who need help preparing for self-sufficiency (not just those ages 16 and over as in previous law), children at various stages of achieving independence, and children in different parts of the state differently; they also can use a variety of providers to deliver independent living services. • The asset limit for the federal foster care program is changed to allow youths to have $10,000 in savings (rather than the current $1,000 limit) and still be eligible for foster care payments.
  6. 2013 STATISTICS • In 2012, • 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. • Nearly 40% had been homeless or couch surfed • Nearly 60% of young men had been convicted of a crime, and only 48% were employed. • 75% of women and 33% of men receive government benefits to meet basic needs. • 50% of all youth who aged out were involved in substance use • 17% of the females were pregnant. • Nearly 25% of youth aging out did not have a high school diploma or GED, and a mere 6% had finished a two- or four-year degree after aging out of foster care. • One study shows 70% of all youth in foster care have the desire to attend college.
  7. WHAT CAN WE DO? • It's time to do something. The case for investing in youth aging out of foster care is a powerful one. Major savings are not only possible, but they are achievable in the relatively near term. The most costly outcomes -- and the ones that hurt young people the most -- come as a result of events, decisions, and behaviors that occur within a few years or even within days of leaving foster care, like becoming homeless or dropping out of school. For many of these youth, the challenges that start in their teen years and early 20s, such as academic failure or unplanned pregnancies, continue throughout the rest of their lives. • So what can we do? Like many social problems, the answer lies in prevention. It is important to recognize that the long-term cost of the status quo is enormous, not just on the public coffers but on the lives of young people who deserve better opportunities to succeed in life as productive members of our society. While they face seemingly insurmountable odds, they deserve our support and a serious investment in their futures. Indeed, the most costly solution available is to do nothing, or to do too little, too late.
  8. EXTENDING FOSTER CARE • So what can we do? Like many social problems, the answer lies in prevention. It is important to recognize that the long-term cost of the status quo is enormous, not just on the public coffers but on the lives of young people who deserve better opportunities to succeed in life as productive members of our society. While they face seemingly insurmountable odds, they deserve our support and a serious investment in their futures. Indeed, the most costly solution available is to do nothing, or to do too little, too late. • The first step to solving this problem must be to extend foster care services beyond age 18. Federal resources are available to states for this purpose and a number of states across the country are leveraging these funds and beginning to implement changes. But to achieve better results, extending foster care services beyond 18 must be done right. • What does "doing it right" mean? First, foster care services for teens and young adults must be designed differently than the foster care services currently offered to young children, for whom safety and security are paramount. Those responsible for designing foster care systems at the state level should collaborate with young people in designing extended care to ensure that the supports and opportunities fit their needs as emerging adults. For example, state policies should establish supervised independent living options for youth aged 18 to 21, and allow them permission to re-enter foster care after a period of trial independence if they need further support. Policies should also ensure that services and supports cultivate the skills that young people need to succeed, like financial literacy and asset building.
  9. A study issued in May 2013 shows that, on average, for every young person who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs like public assistance, incarceration, and lost wages to a community over that person's lifetime. Do the math and you can conservatively estimate that this problem incurs almost $8 billion in social costs to the United States every year. For every foster child that ages out and gets some type of college degree, the state will earn between $288,252 and $950,872 per year in tax revenue
  10. FOSTERING CONNECTIONS TO SUCCESS AND INCREASING ADOPTIONS ACT OF 2008 • The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-351) was signed into law in October 2008. • The act, which passed both houses of Congress by unanimous, bipartisan support, provides a series of building blocks that can help hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care.
  11. The goals and major provisions of the legislation are as follows. • Promote Permanent Placement with Relatives. Grandparents and other relatives who are willing to become legal guardians for their relative children may be eligible to receive federal assistance, at a rate similar to that provided for foster parents. This will result in more permanent, loving homes for children whose family members would have had a financial hardship to provide for their care on a permanent basis. • Maintain Connections with Siblings and Family. If it is in the child’s best interest, states must make reasonable efforts to keep sibling groups together in foster, family or adoptive placements. A new Family Connection grants program is established, providing funding for programs that provide information and resources to kinship families; intensive family-finding efforts; family group decision-making; and family substance abuse services. • Increase the Number of Adoptions for Waiting Children. An estimated 127,000 children are waiting for adoptive families. The legislation provides incentive payments to states for every child that is adopted above the baseline of 2007 adoption numbers. • Improve Outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Native Children. Federal foster care assistance has not been available to support foster care services for children on tribal lands, unless the tribe had a special agreement with the state. Now federally recognized tribes are able to directly access federal funding to support children in care on tribal lands, as well as a proportionate amount of Chafee Foster Care Independence Program funds. • Improve Competencies of Individuals Working with Children Involved in the Child Welfare System. Federal funding will be extended to states to support training of court personnel, attorneys, guardians ad litem and court appointed special advocates. • Improve Education Stability and Coordination of Medical Needs. The child welfare agency should ensure that a child remains in the same school at the time of his/her placement in foster care, if it is in the child’s best interest. States must also develop a plan for ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for every child in foster care, in collaboration with pediatricians and other experts.
  12. Most important for foster youth facing the likelihood of aging out of the system at 18… • Improve Outcomes and Transition for Older Youth. Research demonstrates that outcomes for youth who remain in care to age 21 are significantly improved over youth who leave the system at age 18. Beginning October 1, 2010, federal funding becomes available to reimburse states that choose to support foster youth beyond the age of 18, provided that the youth is involved in school, vocational training or employed at least 80 hours per month. As of today, Ohio has not implemented many of the provisions in this act including foster care to age 21. We are actively fighting to change Ohio’s foster care age to 21 years.
  14. ACCORDING TO OAC 5101:2-42-19: REQUIREMENTS FOR THE PROVISION OF INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES TO YOUTH IN CUSTODY… • Independent living services must be provided to each youth who has attained the age of sixteen to prepare them for the transition from agency custody to self-sufficiency. • The following is a list of required independent living services that must be offered to a youth while in foster care:
  15. Academic support including: • Academic counseling. • Preparation for a GED. • Assistance in applying for or studying for a GED exam. • Tutoring. • Help with homework. • Study skills training. • Literacy training. • Help accessing educational resources. Career preparation including: • Vocational and career assessment, career exploration and planning, guidance in setting and assessing vocational and career interests and skills and help in matching interests and abilities with vocational goals. • Job seeking and job placement support, identifying potential employers, writing resumes, completing job applications, developing interview skills, job shadowing, receiving job referrals, using career resource libraries, understanding employee benefits coverage, and securing work permits. • Retention support and job coaching. • Learning how to work with employers and other employees. • Understanding workplace values such as timeliness and appearance. • Understanding authority and customer relationships.
  16. Employment programs or vocational training including: • Participation in an apprenticeship, internship, or summer employment program. • Participation in vocational or trade programs and the receipt of training in occupational classes for such skills as cosmetology, auto mechanics, building trades, nursing , computer science, and other current or emerging employment sectors. Budget and financial management including: • Living within a budget. • Opening and using a checking or savings account. • Balancing a checkbook. • Developing consumer awareness and smart shopping skills. • Accessing information about credit, loans and taxes. • Filling out tax forms. Family support and healthy marriage education including: • education and information about safe and stable families, healthy marriages, spousal communication, parenting, responsible fatherhood, childcare skills, teen parenting and domestic and family violence prevention. Housing, education and home management training including: • Assistance or training in locating and maintaining housing, filling out a rental application and acquiring a lease, handling security deposits and utilities, understanding practice for keeping a healthy and safe home, understanding tenants rights and responsibilities, and handling landlord complaints. • Instruction in food preparation, laundry, housekeeping, living cooperatively, meal planning, grocery shopping and basic maintenance and repairs. Health education and risk prevention including: • Hygiene, nutrition, fitness and exercise, and first aid information. • Medical and dental care benefits, health care resources and insurance, prenatal care and maintaining personal medical records. • Sex education, abstinence education, and HIV prevention, education and information about sexual development and sexuality, pregnancy prevention and family planning and sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS; substance abuse prevention and intervention, including education and information about the effects and consequences of substance use (alcohol, drugs, tobacco) and substance avoidance and intervention.
  17. MAKE A DIFFERENCE • As a member of the House of New Hope “Family,” you have an obligation to assist foster youth to gain the skills necessary to live a happy and healthy adulthood!