At least one third of youth in foster care have disabilities—ranging from minor developmental delays to chronic and severe health and behavioral health impairments—that will require treatment and care after they age out of the child welfare system. These youth are entitled to the same independent living, permanency, and transition planning services as all foster youth in the system.
While the opportunity is now available for states to support the older foster youths' transition to adulthood by providing them with age-appropriate placements, much work needs to be done. In particular, child welfare systems must build their capacity to provide these placements.
Last night, at the 17th Annual Webby Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, Juvenile Law Center was honored for having the best website in the "Law" category by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS).
Providing teens with "normal" experiences is about giving them age-appropriate freedom and responsibility. Most youth need to practice the skills they need for adulthood to truly master them. Foster youth—like all children—also deserve opportunities to participate in community and school activities that they enjoy.
Nationally, nearly half of youth in foster care do not complete high school by age 18. Frequent school moves and course credits that don't transfer are a big part of the problem. Here's more on why school stability is critical for foster youth—and what you can do to help.
Experience and research show that we have a better chance of ending up with policies that advance good practice when we listen to youth in foster care, and to foster youth alumni, about what works and what does not work. In addition to creating better policies, youth benefit from the experience of advocating for themselves and seeing that their voice is important.
Lindsay Bever, The Guardian
Tom Shortell, The Express-Times
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WHYY's Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane
Letter to the editor by Robert Schwartz
Zack Needles, The Legal Intelligencer
Michael Sisak, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice
Marsha Levick, Los Angeles Times
Patrick O'Shea, Allegheny Times