Resources address the mental health needs of transitioning youth and developing services to support them, including State and local examples.
Healthy Foster Care America: Mental and Behavioral Health
American Academy of Pediatrics (2017)
Discusses mental and behavioral health issues as the largest unmet need for youth in foster care and provides information on related topics including trauma, changes in life situations, family relationship problems, access to mental health services, and more.
Literature Review: Transition- Age Youth (PDF - 299 KB)
SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (2016)
Describes challenges facing transition-age youth and includes a section on youth with mental illness and substance use disorders.
Mental Health and Foster Care
National Conference of State Legislatures (2016)
Provides information on factors contributing to the mental and behavioral health of youth in foster care including histories of trauma, frequently changing situations, broken family relationships, and inconsistent or inadequate access to mental health services and over the counter medications.
Position Statement: Transition Age Youth & Mental Illness (PDF - 78 KB)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), DeKalb Addiction Clinic (2017)
Explains how youth transitioning from foster care can be especially vulnerable to mental illness because they experience significant life changes, which can exacerbate stress and mental health disorders. NAMI presents several suggestions to address the mental health issues common in transition-age youth.
Department of Mental Health Services for Transition Age Youth
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (2017)
Describes mental health and support services available to youth transitioning out of the foster care system in LA County, California. The site provides links to resources and additional information on serving transition-aged youth.
Foster Youth in Transition: Health & Wellness, Your Mind
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (2017)
Provides resources and information for foster youth transitioning out of care in Michigan on mental and behavioral health topics including depression, suicide, relationships, feelings, eating disorders, substance abuse, and problem gambling.
Mental Health and Substance Use Problems and Service Utilization by Transition-Age Foster Youth: Early Findings From CalYOUTH (PDF - 579 KB)
Courtney and Charles (2015)
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Discusses the high prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders among California youth transitioning from foster care and how these challenges relate to states' choosing to extend foster care to age 21.
Supporting Transition-Aged Foster Youth (PDF - 753 KB)
California Community Colleges Student Mental Health Program (2015)
Describes how increasing access to mental health and other services can improve educational outcomes for transition-aged youth and how California's Community College Student Mental Health Program aims to improve the transition to adulthood for at-risk youth.
Transition-Age Youth in Massachusetts (PDF - 811 KB)
Tufts University and LUK, Inc. (2016)
Examines services for youth aging out of foster care in Massachusetts, including Federal mental health services and State mental health services, to determine if programs can be improved. The report also compares services in Massachusetts to those in three other states: Connecticut, California, and Maryland.
Youth in Transition in the Mental Health System (PDF - 271 KB)
Maine Department of Health and Human Services (2015)
Presents a guide for those working in the child welfare system in Maine to assist in their youth access mental health services as adults in the state.