Young people who age out of foster care rather than secure permanent placement may face unique obstacles as they prepare to leave care and begin their adult lives. Housing stability is particularly crucial for a young person’s success, so it is important that young people receive thoughtful transition planning and support. These resources provide strategies to help youth transitioning out of care locate and maintain safe and affordable housing. State and local examples are included.
Child Welfare Information Gateway
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The Family Unification Program: A Housing Resource for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care (PDF - 1,931 KB)
Dion, Dworsky, Kauff, & Kleinman (2014)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, Mathematica Policy Research, & Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Describes the extent to which communities are using the Family Unification Program (FUP) to support youth who have aged out of care and need housing. The report concludes by discussing potential barriers to referring youth for FUP and the need for cross-agency communication and collaboration for effective implementation.
Foster Care Transition Toolkit (PDF - 1,843 KB)
U.S. Department of Education (2016)
Includes tips and resources for youth currently in foster care or recently in foster care on making decisions about securing housing, careers, education, and other life skills.
Provides questions to help youth determine if they are prepared to find stable, affordable housing after aging out of foster care. The page also describes different types of housing resources that may be available to youth.
Housing for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care (PDF - 2,230 KB)
Dion, Kleinman, Kauff, & Dworsky (2014)
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research
Explores the housing needs of youth who age out of the foster care system. This resource includes a literature review, issue brief, and report on the housing challenges facing this population.
Older Youth Housing, Financial Literacy and Other Supports
National Conference of State Legislators (2020)
Identifies national and State efforts and supports to help youth transition from foster care, including helping youth secure stable housing, promoting financial literacy, extending foster care, and more.
Stable Housing Can Launch Youth Leaving Foster Care on a Path to Success
Shroyer & Brennan (2019)
Provides research on the benefits of stable housing for young people as they exit the foster care system, national housing programs and support strategies, and examples of promising jurisdictions around the country.
Supporting Young People Transitioning From Foster Care: Findings From a National Survey
Fryar, Jordan, & DeVooght (2017)
Discusses the findings from a national survey of State independent-living coordinators about the availability of services and supports for young people as they exit the foster care system. The report highlights trends and promising strategies in promoting safe, stable, and affordable housing; postsecondary education; employment and career development; financial capability; health and mental health care; and permanent relationships with supportive adults.
Using a Housing First Philosophy When Serving Youth (PDF - 570 KB)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2017)
Explains the Housing First approach, which focuses on quickly connecting people experiencing a housing crisis to permanent housing without preconditions and barriers to entry (e.g., sobriety, treatment, or service participation requirements). The document describes the core principles of Housing First as they relate to youth and techniques to better serve youth.
Aged Out/Cast Out: Solutions to Housing Instability for Aging Out Foster Youth in New York (PDF - 1,433 KB)
Columbia Law School, Adolescent Representation Clinic (2016)
Discusses common challenges that youth aging out of foster care in New York face as they attempt to find stable housing. The report offers recommendations for policy and practice improvements for each challenge presented.
Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth/Young Adults With Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness (YARH), 2013–2024
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (2020)
Provides project descriptions and reports from the two phases of the Children’s Bureau’s planning and implementation grants to build capacity to end youth homelessness.
The Possibilities Project
Better Housing Coalition (2020)
Describes the collaborative program that provides young people aging out of Virginia’s foster care system with housing, crucial support services, and counseling supports. The page also provides statistics on youth aging out of foster care in Virginia.
Related Publications for Building Capacity to Evaluate Interventions for Youth With Child Welfare Involvement at Risk of Homelessness: Phase I and II
Mathematica Policy Research (2020)
Provides high-level themes and lessons learned from a process study of the Children’s Bureau planning and implementation grants for developing and testing cross-system interventions for youth with child welfare involvement who are most likely to experience homelessness.