To best serve the community, agencies should include family and youth voices in all areas of practice and planning. The earlier youth are involved in working toward goals for their future, the better their outcomes will be. Youth in foster care should be engaged in their own transition planning, but they may only participate to the extent they feel the process is helpful to them. Plans should reflect what the youth wants and needs, reflect each youth's individuality, include input from supportive adults in their lives. The following resources highlight the benefits of involving youth in transition planning.
Caseworker Guide to Transition Planning for Youth (PDF - 3,860 KB)
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children's Administration (2018)
Presents a four four-step plan for caseworkers to work with youth on transitioning from foster care.
Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents
A Message About Your Independent Living Transition Plan (PDF - 166 KB)
Project LIFE (2016)
Offers information for youth on developing a transition plan and youth's central role in the process. The document reviews the importance of youth-driven planning, describes the collaboration necessary to develop a transition plan, and provides links to more information for youth.
Older Youth in Foster Care
Juvenile Law Center
Describes how older youth in foster care need assistance as they make the difficult transition into adulthood. The webpage addresses how child welfare organizations should provide older youth with comprehensive transition and permanency planning services and how youth should be actively engaged in the planning and delivery of these services.
Reducing the Risk of Homelessness Through Youth Engagement and Teaming Among Youth Exiting Foster Care (PDF - 1,843 KB)
Bowman, Gould-Kabler, Abbatiello, & Strong (2019)
University of Maryland, School of Social Work
Discusses the importance of involving youth in foster care in their own transition planning, how to engage youth in decision-making and their role in the transition plan, and how traumatic experiences and adolescent brain development can impact youth communication and relationships with others.
The Road to Adulthood: Aligning Child Welfare Practice With Adolescent Brain Development (PDF - 3,200 KB)
Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative (2017)
Describes how incorporating the latest research on adolescent brain development into child welfare work leads to improved outcomes for young people. The report presents strategies for child welfare professionals on building relationships with youth, helping youth deal with loss, using empathy as a tool, and more. The report also includes examples of successful programs across the country that support and engage youth as they transition to adulthood.