May is National Foster Care Month, a time to recognize that we each can play a part in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care.
May's special issue highlights a higher education program for transitioning youth, a tool for evaluating youth connectedness, and other information about foster care.
The Obama administration remains committed to improving the lives of children in foster care and the futures of youth who may leave foster care without a permanent family.
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.
National Resource Center for Youth Development
Provides resources, information, and tools for young adults who are currently experiencing foster care, those who are transitioning to adulthood, and those who have aged out of care.
National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections
Includes materials written for and about young people in care. The resources are listed by State and include information about youth rights, foster care handbooks, and legal guides.
Provides information on a variety of topics and facts related to foster care, questions and answers, youth stories, blogs, articles, news, and more about transitioning out of care. A national network for youth in care, FosterClub aims to help young people transform their lives and provides a forum where they can raise their voices.
Offers information for youth preparing to age out of care or those who have recently left care about how to prepare for life on their own. The website is built and maintained by youth and contains communicative tools to keep foster youth connected and engaged.
Portland State University Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures
Addresses the sometimes difficult and confusing process of transitioning out of foster care. The toolkit shares information and tips collected from interviews of young adults who shared their experiences regarding issues such as money management, employment, health care, transportation, and relationships.
FLUX: Life After Foster Care
Ecke, Stenslie, Aliberti, Broderick, Cross, Freeman, et al. (2010)
Foster Care Alumni of America
Designed to assist adolescents transitioning from foster care to adulthood and written by more than 100 adult alumni of foster care. The book discusses developing support systems, as well as key considerations for expanding social networks.
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.
The Legal Aid Society (2010)
Explains how family team conferences (FTCs) bring together youth, their families, and the people working with them to plan for the future. The brochure describes who can attend FTCs, what is discussed, when they take place, the permanency planning goal, and the rights and role of youth to participate.
Children's Bureau et al. (2012)
Provides information and worksheets to assist youth in recognizing when they need help, weighing options for medication use, asking questions about their diagnosis and treatment, and taking medication safely. The guide can be used directly by youth or serve as a discussion tool for child welfare workers, health-care providers, mentors, and others working with youth in foster care. Also available in Spanish .
Northeast Massachusetts Community of Practice (2011)
Highlights simple ways to stay in contact with doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, and other professionals. The tip sheet covers keeping in contact by phone, text, and Internet.
University of Massachusetts Medical School Transitions RTC (2011)
Describes the Individual Education Program (IEP), a school's responsibilities for developing the IEP, transition services that should be included on the IEP, student rights relating to the IEP, and attendance at the IEP meeting.
Voice for Adoption (2013)
Provides a snapshot of potential financial aid opportunities for youth formerly in foster care. The resource sheet includes information about college scholarships, tuition waivers, and other programs.
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin, Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (FCARC) (2009)
Explains how youth can succeed at work and discusses strategies for understanding workplace culture, adapting to 40-hour weeks, asking questions, being punctual, dressing for success, telling their stories, asking to help out, dealing with problems at work, and taking advantage of workplace training. Additional FCARC tip sheets on a wide range of topics are also available.