Podcast Explores Support for Older Youth Leaving Foster Care

Posted February 7, 2024
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A young Black woman and an older white woman embrace lovingly.

What can child wel­fare lead­ers do to ensure young peo­ple thrive after they leave fos­ter care? Fos­ter­ing a Bet­ter Future,” a new episode of the Lemon­a­da Media pod­cast No One Is Com­ing to Save Us, explores this question.

Agen­cies often stop search­ing for fam­i­lies for old­er youth, opt­ing to pri­or­i­tize edu­ca­tion­al and voca­tion­al readi­ness and access to sta­ble hous­ing and eco­nom­ic resources. How­ev­er, at this crit­i­cal time in their lives, young peo­ple need the sense of belong­ing and sup­port that comes from a fam­i­ly and com­mu­ni­ty con­nec­tions. The episode, fund­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion, dis­cuss­es sys­tem-change efforts that can address the needs of old­er youth. Guests high­light the impor­tance of both prepar­ing youth for suc­cess at the same time as help­ing them devel­op healthy con­nec­tions to adult care­givers, birth fam­i­ly and kin.

Lis­ten to Fos­ter­ing a Bet­ter Future”

Lisa Guil­lette, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Fos­ter For­ward, details Fos­ter Forward’s Real Con­nec­tions men­tor­ing pro­gram and efforts to devel­op hous­ing for young adults with fos­ter care experience.

San­dra Gas­ca, vice pres­i­dent of Casey’s Cen­ter for Sys­tems Inno­va­tion, talks about SOUL Fam­i­ly. The pro­posed legal per­ma­nen­cy option would allow youth ages 16 and old­er to estab­lish legal, per­ma­nent rela­tion­ships with one or more pri­ma­ry care­givers while main­tain­ing legal ties to their birth fam­i­lies and sib­lings. Access to a broad­er net­work of car­ing adults and men­tors can mean greater sup­port for young peo­ple on the path to adulthood.

Young lead­ers who work with the Casey Foun­da­tion’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive® have designed a pro­pos­al for SOUL Fam­i­ly to be rec­og­nized by courts, com­mu­ni­ties and child wel­fare leaders.

Find­ing, build­ing and strength­en­ing fam­i­lies for old­er youth in fos­ter care must become a greater pri­or­i­ty for child wel­fare agen­cies,” says Gasca.

Down­load Fos­ter­ing a Bet­ter Future”

Learn more about how young peo­ple in fos­ter care are faring

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