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.
New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (2012)
Features interviews with youth talking about the benefits of keeping their case open past age 18 and receiving voluntary services, including housing, financial, transportation, life skills, employment, education, Medicaid, and other services.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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American Academy of Pediatrics (2015)
Intended for older adolescents in foster care, this brochure provides information on aging out of the foster care system into adulthood. It reviews the development of a transition plan and key components, as well as the team that will help the youth prepare for transition.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services (2014)
Includes links to practical tools for youth under the age of 18 and young adults preparing to transition out of foster care. Resources include Know Your Credit History: How to Interpret a Credit Report (PDF - 699 KB), Creating a Credit Profile: How To Build Your Credit (PDF - 652 KB), and Protect Yourself and Your Stuff: What You Need to Know About Insurance (PDF - 766 KB).
National Resource Center for Youth Services (2014)
Provides information and resources about joining the military and highlights specific information about the implications of the process, requirements, and implications that decision may have for youth who have experience with foster care.
Aims to connect, educate, inspire, and represent youth in and from foster care. Resources available on the site include Permanency Pact: Life-Long, Kin-Like Connections Between a Youth and a Supportive Adult, Transition Toolkit, and youth stories as part of the #FosterEquality campaign.
Provides a place for youth currently or formerly in foster care to connect with others. The website also includes links to resources on topics including housing, education, health, and mental health.
U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid (2013)
Provides information about Educational and Training Vouchers (ETVs) that can help youth currently or formerly in foster care pay for college or vocational training. This factsheet is also available in Spanish (PDF - 130 KB).
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (2013)
Links to a series of tip sheets that provide action steps for dealing with various life transitions and challenges. Each tip sheet begins with a series of questions that assists youth in determining how to apply the information in his/her own life. Tip sheets include Becoming a Strong Advocate, Leading Your Transition Plan, and Learning Disability History.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 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. Also available in Spanish (PDF - 1,152 KB).
Portland State University Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures (2012)
Addresses the sometimes difficult and confusing process of transitioning out of foster care. The toolkit shares information and tips collected from interviews with young adults who shared their experiences regarding issues such as money management, employment, health care, transportation, and relationships.
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law (2010)
Helps lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth in foster care navigate the child welfare system. Youth can explore this handbook to understand their rights and utilize provided tools and resources to receive the care and attention they are entitled to.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services (2010)
Presents guidance for youth in foster care and explains that caseworkers are required to try to place siblings in foster care together, if there are no safety or other issues. The handbook encourages an open dialogue between children and caseworkers regarding why children are or are not placed with their siblings.
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.
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin, Foster Care and Adoption Resource Center (2009)
Explains the importance of speaking out and speaking up about foster care and adoption issues. Designed for Wisconsin foster and adopted youth, this tip sheet discusses youth advocacy and the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Suggestions for finding others who might have similar beliefs or situations are provided, as well as strategies for preparing to advocate for a cause, discovering what approach works best, and ways to advocate for change. Additional tip sheets on topics including career planning and financial empowerment are also available.
American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Bar-Youth Empowerment Project, & Florida's Children First, Inc. (2008)
Answers common questions about leaving foster care and highlights statewide and national resources for youth seeking additional information. This handbook covers issues identified as important by youth who have been in foster care.
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