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Youth Transitioning from Foster Care
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Authors: Adrienne L. Fernandes 
Book Description:
Nearly half of states have laws that explicitly permit the state child welfare system to continue providing foster care for children beyond the age of majority (usually no later than 19). However, the number of states that actually facilitate youth remaining in care beyond their 18th or 19th birthdays is significantly smaller. Over 20,000 young people have been emancipated from foster care annually from FY2002 through FY2006. While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in care and those who age out of care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or a lack of emotional and financial supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by older youth in care and youth emancipating from foster care, Congress created a new Independent Living initiative (P.L. 99-272)in 1986 to assist certain older foster youth as they enter adulthood. The legislation authorized mandatory funding to states under a new Section 477 of the Social Security Act. In 1999, the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (P.L. 106-169) replaced the Independent Living Program with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) and doubled the total annual funds available to states from $70 million to $140 million. The law also expanded the population of youth eligible to receive independent living services — with no lower age limit — and gave states greater flexibility in designing independent living programs. Independent living services can refer to assistance in obtaining a high school diploma, training in daily living skills, and training in financial management, among other services. Amendments to the CFCIP in FY2002 (P.L. 107-133) authorized discretionary funding for states to provide education and training vouchers to eligible youth. Along with the CFCIP, federal child welfare law and other federal programs are intended to help older current youth in care and foster care alumni make the transition to adulthood. The federal foster care program has protections in place to ensure that older youth in care have a written case plan that addresses the programs and services that will assist in this transition, among other supports. Further, federal law authorizes funding for states to provide workforce assistance and housing to
older foster youth. Despite these efforts and the resilience displayed by current and former foster youth, policymakers and child welfare practitioners have suggested that at a minimum, young people need better support to build stronger connections with caring adults before leaving foster care and should have the option to remain in care upon reaching their 18th or 19th birthdays.

Table of Contents:

Who Are Older Youth in Foster Care and Youth Aging Out of Care?

Characteristics of Youth in Foster Care

Outcomes for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care

Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study

Midwest Evaluation on the Adult Functioning of Former
Foster Youth

Resiliency of Current and Former Foster Youth

Overview of Federal Support for Foster Youth

Federal Foster Care Program

Case Planing and Review

Title IV-E Reimbursement for Foster Care

Eligible Placement Setting

Eligible Age

National Child Welfare Resource Center for Youth Development
Survey of Foster Care Beyond Age 18

Sample of States with Known Programs that Provide Foster Care
to Older Youth

Chafee Foster Care Independence Program



Eligibility for CFCIP Benefits and Services

Youth Likely to Remain in Foster Care Until Age 18

Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

American Indian Youth

The Role of Youth Participants

Administration of the Program

Education and Training Vouchers

Administration of the Program

Youth Enrolled in the Program

Funding for States

Use of Funds

Hold Harmless Provision

Unused Funds

National Youth in Transition Database

Evaluation of Innovative CFCIPs

PART Review

Assessments of the CFCIP

Child and Family Services Review

GAO Report

Implementation of the ETV Program

Other Federal Support for Older Current and Former Foster Youth

Chafee Medicaid Pathway

Other Educational Support

Workforce Support

Workforce Investment Act Programs

Foster Youth Workforce Demonstration Projects

Housing Support

Family Unification Vouchers Program

Other Support

Grant to Support Curriculum for Supervising Older Youth in Care


Foster Care for Youth Ages 18 and Older

Eligible Placement Setting

Judicial Oversight

Relevant Legislation


Relevant Legislation


Relevant Legislation

Runaway Youth

Relevant Legislation

Use of Chafee Education and Training Vouchers

Relevant Legislation

Medicaid Coverage for Youth Aging Out of Care

Relevant Legislation

The Risk of Becoming Disconnected

Relevant Legislation

Appendix A. Outcomes for Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care

Appendix B. Maximum Age and Conditions for Youth Remaining
in Foster Care After Their 18th Birthday

Appendix C. Descriptions of Foster Care for Youth Ages 18 to 21
in Select States


New York


Adult Living Program

Housing Support Program

Washington, D.C.

Appendix D. Funding for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

Appendix E. Proposed Legislative Changes in the 110th Congress
to the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

Increased Appropriations


Education and Training Vouchers

Direct Funding for Tribal Entities

Private Social Service Providers

Information About Support Services



   Binding: Softcover
   Pub. Date: 2008 4th Quarter
   ISBN: 978-1-60692-069-5
   Status: AV
Status Code Description
AN Announcing
FM Formatting
PP Page Proofs
FP Final Production
EP Editorial Production
PR At Prepress
AP At Press
AV Available
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Youth Transitioning from Foster Care