New Report: Young People in Foster Care on How States Can Remove Barriers to Normalcy

Posted November 13, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog youngpeoplemakenormalcyrecommendations 2015

To thrive in adult­hood, young peo­ple in fos­ter care say they need four basic con­sid­er­a­tions: 1) con­nec­tions to fam­i­ly and car­ing rela­tion­ships; 2) a reduced use of group place­ments; 3) a more rig­or­ous selec­tion and train­ing process for fos­ter par­ents; and 4) greater oppor­tu­ni­ties to make their own deci­sions and learn from experience.
 
These are the find­ings of the Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Initiative’s most recent­ly released report, What Young Peo­ple Need to Thrive: Lever­ag­ing the Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act to Pro­mote Nor­mal­cy. The report offers insights from young peo­ple around the coun­try who are in, or have been in, fos­ter care.
 
Released Nov. 12 at the Jim Casey Initiative’s annu­al nation­al con­ven­ing in Clear­wa­ter Beach, Flori­da, the report is an effort to assist state child wel­fare agen­cies and pol­i­cy­mak­ers as they move to imple­ment the Pre­vent­ing Sex Traf­fick­ing and Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act (Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act). The new fed­er­al law includes key pro­vi­sions designed to improve the expe­ri­ences of young peo­ple in fos­ter care.
 
In the report, young peo­ple who are in, or have been in, fos­ter care pro­vide can­did rec­om­men­da­tions for reforms that will enable young peo­ple in fos­ter care to expe­ri­ence more nor­mal, healthy grow­ing-up activ­i­ties as they grow into adulthood.

The report illus­trates how nor­mal­cy — from play­ing extracur­ric­u­lar sports to hav­ing an after-school job to being allowed to trav­el on vaca­tion with one’s fos­ter fam­i­ly — leads to bet­ter out­comes for old­er youth in fos­ter care. 
 
As the report notes, crit­i­cal pro­vi­sions of the Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act that pro­mote nor­mal­cy include:

  • the require­ment for states to imple­ment a rea­son­able and pru­dent par­ent” stan­dard that allows care­givers to make more dai­ly deci­sions for young peo­ple in their care;
  • a man­date that child wel­fare sys­tems engage all young peo­ple in their case plan­ning begin­ning at age 14; and
  • the elim­i­na­tion of the use of the court ordered per­ma­nen­cy goal of Anoth­er Planned Per­ma­nent Liv­ing Arrange­ment (APPLA) as a per­ma­nen­cy goal for chil­dren under 16, as well as the addi­tion of case plan­ning and over­sight require­ments when the goal is used.

Down­load a copy of What Young Peo­ple Need to Thrive: Lever­ag­ing the Strength­en­ing Fam­i­lies Act to Pro­mote Normalcy

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