Aftercare Checklist: Are You Providing Youth With What They Need?

  • Temporary financial assistance
    Most young people have financial management problems in the first few months on their own, particularly when faced with unexpected expenses.
  • Peer support
    Trying to live on a minimum-wage salary can be frustrating and depressing for youth. Peer support groups provide opportunities for youth to talk to others who can understand what they are going through.
  • Advocacy
    Dealing with problems can be overwhelming. Youth may occasionally need someone to advocate for them with health care systems, legal systems, and housing authorities.
  • Information and referral
    Sometimes a youth may simply need to know where to go if he or she should ever need help. With the right information, the youth can often handle problems alone.
  • Support for youth during the transition to permanency
    Young people need emotional support as they either make the transition to life on their own or go back to their families. Having a personal connection with a staff person or mentor who knows them and cares about them is important. This person serves as the young person's lifeline as he or she goes about making new friends and reestablishing family connections.
  • Temporary housing
    Many youth experience at least one period of homelessness, either because a living arrangement has not worked out or because of a loss of income.
  • Help in establishing and maintaining living arrangements
    In many communities, safe and affordable housing is hard to find. Landlords may be reluctant to rent to a young person without a cosigner on the lease. Youth who have not lived in a supportive independent living program may not be sufficiently skilled to maintain their living arrangement without assistance.
  • Crisis counseling
    Some youth have difficulty coping with life on their own and may find themselves in serious or even dangerous situations. Having someone to call in times like these is essential.

From John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, Aftercare Services, The University of Oklahoma, National Resource Center for Youth Development.