By: April Ferrino, Senior Policy and Evaluation Specialist
Where will a youth who is aging out of foster care system land? Too many don’t have a safety net (e.g. housing, employment, education plans, or access to medical care) and may become homeless. This outcome is not unique to the US, as shown in the article below about the Canadian foster care system. Seven recommendations to improve outcomes for Canadian foster care youth are presented in the article. One recommendation advises providers to give youth a say in the design of services and the types of services provided to them. Fortunately for some youth in Texas there are providers that are doing just that.
A project funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and coordinated by Texas Network of Youth Services wants to add the consumer’s voice into how services are delivered. The goal of the Transition-Age Youth and Families Initiative is to improve services for youth with mental health conditions some of whom may be aging out of the foster care system. The eight Houston-area providers received $10 million over four years to engage transition age youth and their caregivers in program planning, design, and implementation. The Initiative will be studied through process and outcomes evaluations, led by Texas Network of Youth Services and DePelchin Children’s Center, respectively. For more information, visit Texas Network of Youth Services web site.
Shutting Down the ‘Pipeline’ from Foster Care to Homelessness
While I was getting my Master level university classes in at Texas A & M Corpus Christi, I taught P.A.L. or Preparation For Adult Living classes to teens aging out of foster care through the Lutheran Social Services work, study program. I then went on to work for Child Protective Services in Beeville, Texas as a Social Worker covering five counties – including Bee, McMullen, Live Oak, Refugio. Thank-you for providing this information and resources!