Life in foster care can be a confusing time. Without useful information, figuring out what to do and what choices you have can be difficult. Educating yourself about the foster care system and process will help you know what to expect. There are many resources and tools available to help prepare you for a variety of events and challenges, such as moving out on your own, pursuing your education, searching for a job, money management, and more. Use the following resources to learn about the life changes, or "transitions," that may occur while you're in foster care or preparing to transition from foster care.
Youth Communication (2013)
Represent: The Voice of Youth in Care, Winter Issue
Explores how youth in foster care decide whom they consider to be family members and their different interpretations of what "family" means to them. This issue includes poetry from youth in foster care.
National Association of Social Workers (2011)
Offers information and tips for youth entering foster care about feelings that may arise while in care, reasons for entering foster care, what may happen if a permanency plan calls for reunification or adoption, and ways to make the foster care experience better. This guide discusses biological and foster family relationships, the role of the court, and how youth can talk to their guardians ad litem or CASA workers about their desires.
Guides youth in transition and adult supporters through building a transition plan that helps clarify goals, build a Transition Support Team, evaluate assets, sharpen skills, and map out a plan for the challenges after foster care. The kit focuses on 10 topics for youth to examine, such as the importance of permanency to a successful transition to adulthood; the benefits of participating fully in community, culture, and social life; and much more. Transition Toolkit Companion Tools are also available.
Juvenile Law Center (2010)
Reviews different permanency options for youth receiving child welfare services, including adoption, subsidized and unsubsidized permanent legal custodianship, placement with relatives, another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) with a permanency resource, and more.
Youth Justice Board, Center for Court Innovation, & Center for Courts and the Community (2009)
Presents a Permanency Achievement Kit (PAK) written by young people, for young people in foster care designed to help youth and their families understand family court permanency planning proceedings. The PAK includes information about the rights of youth in foster care, how decisions are made about where youth will live during and after foster care, and how youth can communicate effectively with their lawyers and caseworkers.
Offers a free tool that provides a structure for a verbalized agreement, or pact, between a young person in foster care who is preparing to transition to adulthood without a permanent family and a supportive adult. The pact establishes a kin-like relationship between the young person and an adult who pledges to provide the youth with specific supports. The tool includes experiences of youth from the FosterClub network.