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Transition to Adulthood

  Informational & Practice Publications, Resources, & Tools    

For Child Welfare Professionals

  • Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents
    The Child Welfare Information Gateway developed this publication which provides foster parents with guidance on how to help youth and emerging adults build a foundation for a successful transition to adult life outside of foster care. The first section provides background information on some of the unique challenges that youth in foster care face as they navigate their teenage years, and it includes information on brain development in young adults and programs that can help youth transition successfully to adulthood. The second part includes eight tip sheets that provide information and resources for foster parents on specific topics—such as money management, health care, and employment—so that they can better help youth prepare for independence. (April 2013)
  • Working With Youth to Develop a Transition Plan
    This factsheet from the Child Welfare Information Gateway is intended to help child welfare professionals and others who work with transitioning youth to understand the Federal legislative requirements for transition plans and partner with youth to develop a plan that builds on their strengths while supporting their needs. (January 2013)
  • Data Brief: Highlights from State Reports to the National Youth in Transition Database, Federal Fiscal Year 2011
    This publication from the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) highlights national data from FFY 2011. It is the first in a series of briefs discussing new insights on youth in transition provided by NYTD. Data Brief #1 provides a national snapshot of transitioning youth, including information on over 98,000 youth who received independent living services paid for or provided by State agencies that administer the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP), as well as information on baseline outcomes reported by over 17,000 youth in foster care at age 17 in six areas. The six areas addressed are: financial self-sufficiency, educational attainment, connection with adults, homelessness, high-risk behaviors, and access to health insurance. (September 2012)

For Youth & Families

  • Keep in Touch: Online Tool for Transitioning Youth
    Keep in Touch, a publication developed for the US DHHS/ACF’s National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth, presents the true stories of three formerly homeless young people. Each young person gives practical tips about how to stay connected, get support, and live a successful adult life. Youth new to your transitional or independent living program will get an idea of what to expect. Youth leaving or graduating from your program will be encouraged to stay in touch and ask for help when they need it.
  • Telling Your Money What to Do: The Young Adult’s Guide
    This resource from Northeast Massachusetts Community of Practice helps youth assess their spending and provides tips for budgeting, cutting down on spending, and managing money resources. It also provides tools and worksheets for tracking income and expenses. (2013)
  • New Money Resources: How to Budget and Save for the Future
    This section of the YouthSuccessNYC website features true stories to inspire teens leaving care and helpful articles on various financial topics including how to create a budget, reasons for saving and opening a bank account, using credit cards, and more.  It also provides information on how to enroll in Youth Financial Empowerment, a free program to help teens start saving.


  Research & Reports    
  • More is Possible: An Interactive Report on My First Place, a Program of First Place for Youth
    First Place for Youth was founded in 1998 to equip transition age foster youth with resources to help them become successful adults. To date, First Place for Youth has served over 2,000 youth across California. My First Place, a First Place for Youth transition program, couples stable housing with guidance to achieve critical milestones in employment, education, and healthy living. In My First Place's report, key findings from this initial study indicate: (1) Creating instrumental relationships with supportive staff is essential; (2) Data-driven culture promotes real-time improvement; (3) Strong partnerships are essential for effective educational and employment services; (4) “High level” expectations make the program work; and (5) Preparing youth for staff changes is critical given the strong bonds that are created.
  • Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth
    This report from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago presents the first two waves of findings from the Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth, a longitudinal study of youth aging out of foster care and transitioning to adulthood in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. The study is based on survey data that will be collected at three points in time from a sample of youth who were in foster care for at least one year prior to their 16th birthday. The majority of these youth were placed in the care of the state child welfare system due to abuse and neglect.  (2011)
  • Employment Needs of Foster Youth in Illinois: Findings from the Midwest Study
    The limited research that has been done on young adults who "aged out" of foster care has found that their labor market outcomes are generally quite poor. This Chapin Hall study by Amy Dworsky and Judy Havlicek describes what Illinois young people said about their current and prior participation in the labor force, including work-related training or services they received. (2010)


  Teleconferences, Webinars, Webcasts & Videos    
  • Supporting Youth in Transition: Importance of Caseworker Visits
    This webinar was organized by the Children’s BureauNational Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC), and National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD) as part of National Foster Care Month. It offered information about the importance of quality caseworker visits as a tool for supporting youth in foster care during times of transition. Gail Collins, Director of the Children’s Bureau’s Division of Program Implementation, and Sylvia Kim, Child Welfare Program Specialist, Children’s Bureau, provided a foundational overview of the importance of caseworker visits, discussing information on caseworker visit requirements based in Federal policy, as well as sharing available data on caseworker visits. Their presentation included an overview of caseworker data trends, as well as CFSR caseworker visit findings and implications. Ollie Hernandez and Richard DeMarko Brown from the YATTA (Young Adult Training and Technical Assistance) Network outlined concrete ways that caseworker visits can be an effective tool for supporting youth in transition, provided practice tips, and shared information about how caseworkers can establish a positive relationship with youth in care. Matthew Hudson, NRCYD Program Development Specialist, discussed the development, implementation, and utilization of the “Preparing for Caseworker Visits Monthly Individual Contact Form and FAQs”. (May 7, 2013)
  • Digital Stories: Supporting Youth in Transition
    As part of National Foster Care Month 2013, the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections (NRCPFC) developed new digital stories around the theme of Supporting Youth in Transition. Stories were created in Maine in partnership with the University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Youth and Community Engagement Programs and in Massachusetts in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. (May 2013)
  • Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Implications for Providers, Impact on Budgets
    One important provision of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act extended federal support for keeping foster youth in care until age 21. The goal is to improve educational and health-related outcomes. This extension of care has significant implications for service providers as they plan adaptations to their programs for a group of older youth who need services that will help prepare them for independence. It has implications as well for the budgets of state agencies and program providers. This webinar, from Urban Institute and Chapin Hall, offered a discussion on extending foster care to age 21 and its implications for providers and impact on budgets. (May 12, 2011)


  State Examples    
  • California:  Training Resource on Transitional Independent Living Plan
    This brief training resource from the California Social Work Education Center is designed to disseminate vital information about the Transitional Independent Living Plan. Two resources are provided: one for supervisors and managers, the other for child welfare workers. The child welfare worker resource is designed to be conducted by a trainer, or by a supervisor or facilitator. Both are designed to last about one hour, so that they may be provided during a regular meeting, such as a unit meeting. (April 2012)
  • Connecticut:  Promoting Successful Transitions for Adolescents "Aging Out" of Foster Care
    This brief explains six broad foundations identified by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative that youth aging out of foster care need to make a successful transition to adulthood. The foundations include: a permanent family that provides an ensuring source of emotional support; a stable education that includes postsecondary opportunities; opportunities to achieve economic success; a place to live that is safe, stable, and affordable; access to comprehensive, coordinated health and mental health care; and opportunities to be listened to, to be informed, to be respected, and to exert control over one's life. For each foundation, information is provided on current policies and practices in Connecticut and recommendations for reform. (September 2011)
  • District of Columbia:  Aging Out of Foster Care: Important Information for Teens
    Intended for adolescents in foster care in the District of Columbia, this brochure from the District of Columbia’s Children’s Law Center Teen Task Force explains key steps teens should take to prepare themselves for transitioning to adulthood when they age out of foster care. Actions teens should take each year from age 15 through 20 are listed. Actions include setting goals, getting an identification card, saving money, getting a copy of their credit report, completing or continuing their education plan, developing a housing plan, scheduling and attending all medical appointments, securing important documentation and applying for mental health services. A checklist is provided. (2012)
  • Florida:
    • Connected by 25
      Connected by 25 is a community initiative that engages Florida youth, public/private partners and policy makers to improve outcomes for foster youth through investments in services and programs. Their mission is to ensure that foster care youth are educated, housed, banked, employed and connected to a support system by age 25. 
    • Passage from Youth to Adulthood
      A partnership between the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities and Florida’s Children First, Inc., has produced a guide to services and information for Florida youth with disabilities who are transitioning from foster care to independent living. Passage From Youth to Adulthood provides practical information on the legal rights of students with disabilities as they transition to adulthood.
  • Idaho:  Standard: Working With Older Youth
    The purpose of these standards from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is to provide direction and guidance to the Children and Family Services (CFS) program to ensure a seamless process of case planning and decision making for older youth that addresses both the youth's permanency needs and independent living skills development in preparation for transition to adulthood. (Revised January 2014)
  • Michigan:  Foster Youth in Transition: Michigan Department of Human Services
    This website from the Michigan Department of Human Services provides information on a variety of issues important to current and former foster youth. The site provides links on how to develop supports, find services, get answers to important questions and just keep you posted on what's new. The website will be updated by members of Michigan's Youth Boards from locations across the state.
  • New YorkAdolescent Services Resource Network
    Funded by the New York State Office of Children and Families and the New York City Administration for Children's Services, the Adolescent Services Resource Network at the Hunter College School of Social Work is a training, technical assistance, and information resource center dedicated to increasing the knowledge and skills of child welfare staff working with youth 14-21 in foster care.



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Last updated 8/18/14