Educating yourself about the foster care system and process will help you understand your choices and know what to expect. The following resources and tools can help you understand the reunification process; know where to go for help; and stay connected to your family, friends, and other supportive adults while you're in or transitioning from foster care.
Represent: The Voice of Youth in Care
Provides inspiration and information to youth in foster care by bringing awareness to specific topics. Written by youth in care, the magazine features articles that discuss topics and stories related to birth families, foster parents, the foster care system, group homes, overcoming anger and loss, mental health, finding support, and more.
Spending Time in Foster Care: A Guide for Children
National Association of Social Workers (2007)
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 also 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.
Youth Rights: Permanency Plans for Youth in Care (PDF - 84 KB)
Juvenile Law Center (2011)
Reviews different permanency options for youth receiving child welfare services, including reunification, placement with relatives, subsidized and unsubsidized permanent legal custodianship, adoption, another planned permanent living arrangement with a permanency resource, and more.
10 Facts Every Foster Youth Should Know
Foster Youth Help California (2011)
Educates California foster youth about their rights and options while providing resources on how to receive their entitled opportunities.
Be Your Own Advocate! A Roadmap to Your Time in Arkansas Foster Care (PDF - 2,252 KB)
Arkansas Youth Advisory Board (2015)
Answers frequently asked questions about foster care and provides statewide resources for youth seeking additional information. Additionally, contact information is provided for Department of Children and Family Services staff.
FLUX: Life After Foster Care
Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA) (2009)
Assists adolescents transitioning from foster care to adulthood and discusses topics including creating, strengthening and developing support systems, finding their unique identity, as well as handling biological family relationships.
Keep in Touch: Young People Offer Advice on Staying Connected and Living Independently
National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (2012)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Family Youth and Services Bureau
Illustrates experiences of adolescents who have experienced homelessness or who have been in foster care and offers advice to other youth on making the transition to independence.
Need to Know Series: Sibling Placement and Visitation (PDF - 325 KB)
New York State Foster Care Youth Leadership Advisory Team (2011)
Presents guidance for foster youth and explains that caseworkers are required to try to place siblings in foster care together, if there are no safety or other issues.