It's My Life: A Framework for Youth Transitioning From Foster Care to Successful Adulthood
The authors of this document build upon the activities of the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement at the University of Southern Maine and the National Resource Center for Youth Services at the University of Oklahoma. The authors identify promising practices that assist youth transitioning from foster care into successful adulthood. The authors begin by identifying how practitioners can best meet the needs of youth in transition. The four key services presented are: (1) be able to fulfill multiple roles; (2) develop a comprehensive service plan; (3) use outcome- oriented practice to help youth create their own vision for the future; and (4) contribute to a coordinated system of transition services. The authors then present a brief overview of how child welfare legislation has grown to include such concepts as youth development, permanency planning for older adolescents, and improved access to services for foster youth and families, followed by a discussion of needed future policy steps. Next, the authors dedicate sections of the report to specific practice domains. These include cultural and personal identity formation; community connections and supportive relationships; physical and mental health; life skills; education; employment; and housing. In the final sections, the authors discuss specific practice measures and outcomes and system coordination. Appendix A of the report includes a checklist for practitioners to use when reviewing state plans; this list may also be helpful for program planning and evaluation purposes.