Unfinished Stories: Youth Making Transitions to Adulthood
Transitioning from childhood to adulthood is difficult for anyone. But for most young adults, it is made easier with the support of family and friends. In this publication, the authors profile youth in the foster care system--youth who typically are forced to make it on their own at 18, with no money or family support. Nearly 20,000 such youth "age out" of the foster care system each year. A recent study found that 12 to 18 months after leaving foster care, 50 percent of former foster youth were unemployed, 33 percent were on public assistance, and almost a third of the males were incarcerated. Recently the federal government took a step toward addressing the needs of these young people by adopting the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. This program is intended to assist foster youth as they make the transition to adulthood. The Chafee Act provides funding for the most basic needs of youth in transition, including housing, education, job training, and health care. The individuals profiled in this 17-page publication are the very youth the Chafee Act is supposed to help, many of whom carry histories filled with traumatic childhoods. Many of the youth profiled are involved in transition programs that help them as they struggle to find their way in an adult world. Modified Author Abstract.