As part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other investors, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is active, in states and in local communities across the nation to increase opportunities for young people who are in or transitioning from foster care. The organization:

We have provided technical assistance and other resources that have helped:

  • Three states extend supports for children in foster care from age 18 to 21;
  • Seven states extend Medicaid from age 18 to 21;
  • Four states provide tuition waivers for secondary education;
  • Two states pass sibling visitation bills to help young people stay connected to their siblings;
  • Five states pass state-of-the-art permanency legislation and policies; and
  • Five states increase young people’s participation in court proceedings that decide their future.

Jim Casey Initiative sites work with young people to improve their outcomes. Our Opportunity Passport provides matched savings for young people to purchase life-altering assets such as cars, safe and stable housing, and computers for college.

  • When young people purchase an asset with the Opportunity Passport, their chances of having a full-time job more than double.
  • Research shows that young people who have assets at age 23 have better outcomes in employment, marriage and health.

Created in 2001, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative receives funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and crucial support contributed each year by numerous local funders. The Jim Casey Initiative is named in memory of Jim Casey, the founder of UPS, who improved the lives of millions of American children and families through his philanthropic activities.

View complete list of co-investors

In order to help our sites achieve systems and youth outcomes improvements, we provide tools, strategies, and technical assistance every step along the way. These include:

The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative leverages its hands-on work across 17 states, the latest adolescent brain research and direct feedback from young people to drive state policy and practice improvements that help young people make successful transitions from foster care to adulthood. Our expertise is grounded in the following areas:

From the Blog

Removing Barriers to Everyday Experiences: Normalcy and Foster Care

The Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative addresses challenges faced by youth in foster care and aims to make their experiences as typical when compared to thier peers not in custody.

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Ohio legislators recently extended foster care services to age 21 — joining 23 other states that are similarly providing critical support as youth transition to adulthood. A Place 4 Me, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative site in Ohio, was integral to building local support. 

The federal Strengthening Families Act (SFA) provides new opportunities for child welfare agencies to create typical family experiences for children and youth in foster care. In this third installment of a six-part webinar series, the Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative highlights key SFA provisions that leverage the law’s enforcement mechanisms to not only improve outcomes for kids, but establish better practices from the start.

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative: Raising Awareness

Infographic: The Cost of Doing Nothing

A side-by-side comparison of the cost of doing nothing to help kids aging out of foster care versus the benefits of extending the age limit.

Unite. Discover. Succeed.

On Aug. 5-6, join the nation’s leading policy makers, youth advocates, researchers, grant makers and practitioners to share best practices in authentic youth engagement and build a movement to improve the lives of young people nationwide.

video: powering the potential of young people

Leonard Burton joined BNY Mellon for a national forum on child welfare and workforce development. With 60 leaders from across the country, he shared the Jim Casey Initiative's approach to supporting youth aging out of care.