Like all young people, youth involved with child welfare have a wide variety of needs that must be met in order for them to thrive and succeed. There are many resources and tools available to help prepare youth as they navigate the child welfare system and prepare for independence, including those to help them pursue their education, search for a job, move out on their own, manage their money, and more. The following resources provide informative briefs and guidelines to aid youth while they are in foster care or preparing to transition from foster care, including State and local examples.
Achieving Higher Education Goals: Resources for Youth in and From Foster Care
Casey Family Programs (2016)
Includes information on scholarships and other supports available to foster youth that can help them continue their education and plan for pursuing higher education or training.
Casey Life Skills
Casey Family Programs (2022)
Offers tools to help young people prepare for adulthood, including a life-skills assessment in three languages, a guidebook to develop a learning plan, training, and other supplemental resources.
Foster Care Alumni of America
Creates a space for alumni to get to know each other, to share support and information, and to become an extended family for each other.
Foster Care to Success: America’s College Fund for Foster Youth
Foster Care to Success
Assists foster youth in pursuing college and postsecondary education, understanding the importance of personal fiscal responsibility, determining career goals, and creating networks of support. Foster Care to Success provides grants, academic coaches, mentors, care packages, and internships to foster youth, allowing them to graduate and transition successfully into the workforce and adulthood.
Foster Care Transition Toolkit (PDF - 1,080 KB)
U.S. Department of Education (2016)
Presents information for foster youth to help them successfully transition into adulthood and continue to postsecondary education and meaningful careers.
Compiles resources and information to help young people with child welfare involvement better understand and navigate the child welfare system, get connected to resources, and transition from foster care. Foster Club highlights the perspectives and stories from youth around the country who have experienced foster care.
iFoster for Youth
Links youth with resources, such as free and deeply discounted products and services, by partnering with companies, government agencies, and nonprofits.
The Keys to Your Financial Future Curriculum
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2019)
Builds the financial knowledge and skills of youth to enable them to take on more financial responsibilities.
Represent: The Voice of Youth in Care
Represent Magazine (2019)
Features articles written by youth currently or formerly in in care about foster parents, group homes, overcoming challenges, finding support, and other topics.
What Is Complex Trauma: A Resource Guide for Youth and Those Who Care About Them (PDF - 1,076 KB)
Spinazzola, Habib, Blaustein, Knoverek, Kisiel, Stolbach, et al. (2017)
National Center for Child Traumatic Stress
Defines complex trauma and how it can impact youth and provides coping strategies. Clinicians, caregivers, and other adults can also use the guide to have conversations with youth about complex trauma.
What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18 (PDF - 469 KB)
Social Security Administration (2019)
Summarizes key resources and information for youth with disabilities receiving SSI. "Helping Young People with Disabilities Successfully Transition to Adulthood," a Social Security Matters blog post, explains the expanded early application period for youth with disabilities leaving foster care, which may help facilitate a smoother transition to adult SSI benefits.
State and local examples
Foster Youth Services
Foundation for California Community Colleges (2020)
Offers programs available to California’s foster youth as they turn 18 and become independent, including support for foster youths' living, academic, and emotional needs in college and beyond.
Raises 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.
National Postsecondary Support Map
Fostering Success Michigan (2020)
Compiles links and information on state tuition waivers, statewide education support programs, and 4-year campus-based support programs for students in foster care. This resource includes a map that indicates which states support programs or waivers.
My Path Forward: Supporting Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
Children’s Home Society of Virginia (2020)
Describes a 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.
Resource Links for Youth in Transition
Tennessee Department of Children's Services
Highlights the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Resource Centers in Tennessee that help foster youth ages 14 and older develop financial skills. This source also provides links to local education resources, work resources, and additional information for youth in transition in the state.
Texas Foster Care Handbook for Children, Youth & Young Adults (PDF - 8,588 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2017)
Provides information for foster youth and young adults transitioning out of foster care in Texas on subjects such as legal rights, transition centers, college benefits, and more.