Casey to Host White House Meeting on Normalcy for Youth in Foster Care

Posted May 27, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative are hosting a national meeting on May 29 at the White House to discuss ways to enable youth in foster care to do more of the kinds of activities – such as getting a driver’s license or taking on a summer job – that are often out of their reach because of liability concerns, but that are milestone experiences young people need to become successful adults.

The meeting, “White House Convening on Developmentally Appropriate Services for Children, Youth and Young Adults in Foster Care,” will bring together young people who have been in foster care, foster parents and child welfare directors and commissioners from across the country, as well as leading researchers in adolescent development.

Together, they will work to develop recommendations that will help inform our federal government’s leaders on how to instruct states in their implementation of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act’s provisions that are aimed at improving youths’ experiences in foster care. 

In the law and in the child welfare field, we call it “normalcy.” But in the day to day life of a young person in foster care, it’s as simple as being able to spend the night at a friend’s house without needing a judge’s permission. 

The goal is to make sure that while we’re keeping youth in foster care safe, we are also enabling foster parents to give them real chances to learn, grow and thrive as they make their way through adolescence and into adulthood. 

Adolescent development research is clear – as the brain continues to develop through the teen years, young people’s experiences during this period help shape who they become as adults. To learn more about the neuroscience research into adolescent development, please check out a new resource guide, which includes several videos from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University as well as other materials from the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.