Forum for Thought Blog

Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care: Youth Perspective

02/20/2015 12:00 PM - 01:30 PM ET


Capitol Hill Forum


“People think being in foster care is cut and dry, but that’s not really true.” A young college student from Youth Villages explained that she did not become involved with the child welfare system until her senior year of high school when she was unexpectedly left without parents. “People watch these movies and think that being in foster care means one thing, and only one thing, but it can mean a lot of different things to different people.”

Every story of the thousands of youth who annually “age out” of the foster care system is unique, with each youth overcoming obstacles from their past. However, many of these young people face the same problems while transitioning into adulthood. Homelessness, unemployment, difficulty accessing postsecondary education, and financial instability plague youth who frequently find themselves handling situations they weren’t prepared for. AYPF’s recently released issue brief, Creating Access for Opportunities for Youth in Transition from Foster Care, highlights best practices, policies, and makes recommendations to support these youth during this challenging time through three critical areas of need – sustainable social capital, permanency supports, and access to postsecondary opportunities.

Following an overview presentation on the issue brief by authors Erin Russ and Garet Fryar, panelists will share their experience with the foster care system and describe how their program has supported youth in their goals of attaining higher education. Mary Lee, National Transitional Living Coordinator for Youth Villages; Sheemeca Berkley, Great Expectations Advisor for Northern Virginia Community College; and a youth from each program will share their knowledge and expertise about the intricacies and difficulties in navigating and coordinating support systems.

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