June 10, 2016 

A landmark bipartisan proposal on Foster Care Legislation could mark a new beginning in the way foster care is handled in the US.   Senate Finance Committee  Chairman Orrin Hatch(R-UT) ,  Ron Wyden (R-OR), Ranking Member and Chairman,  Kevin Brady (R-TX),  House Ways and Means Committee, and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI),  have been working on a bipartisan proposal that will help to prevent youth from entering the foster care system. The Family First Prevention Services Act will provide for federal funding in order to support evidence-based prevention services for families.

“At a time when an opioid epidemic is tearing families across the country apart, Congress is fighting to keep families together, ” said Chairman Brady. “The Family First Prevention Services Act does exactly what the title suggests — it puts families first. The bill focuses on addressing problems in the home by delivering parents much-needed support, rather than sending a child straight into foster care. Most of all, it helps ensure our children grow up in strong communities and stable homes. I am grateful for Chairman Buchanan’s leadership on this important legislation”.

The Family First Prevention Services Act strengthens families and reduces inappropriate foster care placement. ~Bipartisan House, Senate Leaders Announce Proposed Child Welfare Legislation

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HOW YOU CAN HELP

HOW CAN YOU HELP   Visting the ABC News  How You Can Help Foster Children  website can provide you with   a number of resources where you can learn how to help out our nation’s foster care youth.

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A Short Film 

I would like to share with you, this emotional short film by Nathanael Matanick, entitled ReMoved. The film brings to life the realities for some children who make their way into the foster care system.  Please have an open mind and heart for these youth.

It’s day one.

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A Program that works

The Transition to Adult Living  program began in 2011 in Utah as a way to provide young people with assistance as they transition from foster care to adult living. The program helps young adults find housing, employment, on-the-job training, crisis support and medical and mental health care as they age out of the foster care system, and provides youth with mentoring, self-esteem building, personal future planning, caregiver and family networking, education and training in basic life-skills.

“Teens who are not adopted and age out of the foster care system lack networks of support that youths raised by their own families may take for granted. When they age out of care, former foster children are at greater risk for homelessness, pregnancy, dropping out of school, unemployment, and committing crimes.

That’s where Utah’s Transition to Adult Living program comes in”. ~Jennifer Larson

Utah is helping to blaze a trail

Named after Utah’s first female governor, the late Olene Walker (R-UT) the Olene S. Walker Transition to Adult Living (TAL) Scholarship is designed to assist qualified youth who are transitioning out of state foster care or the unaccompanied refugee minor program; to complete a post-secondary education program (degree or certificate) at one of the Utah System of Higher Education institutions.   Private donors in partnership with the Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) sponsor the TAL Scholarship.

As well,  The Just for Youth – Utah program offers youth incentives in a number of other collaborative services.

Foster Parents have a special place in the heart of a child

While each state has their own set of programs, there are also national programs that help with collaborating services for youth all across American.  For instance:

Foster Care to Success – America’s College Fund for Foster Youth Since 1981, Foster Care to Success has helped over 50,000 young adults from foster care achieve success through education.  They have opportunities for you to donate.

Foster Club  The Foster Club offers  a means for young people to connect in a safe, monitored environment. The website also serves as a hub of information relating to foster care, including articles, q+a, message boards, contests, discussion of foster care topics, and even biographies of famous people who grew up in care. There are a number of very famous stars, and equally successful business men and women who were in foster care.

  • Steve Jobs
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Superman
  • Phillips Idowu
  • Willy Nelson
  • Cher
  • John Lenon
  • and more.

The business of foster care.  

There are a number of  things you should know. 

 Statistics

Jim Casey initiativeFoster Care Teens Who Are Aging Out Less than 2 percent will graduate college by age 25. Seventy-one percent of young women become pregnant before they turn 21, according to the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a St. Louis-based foundation. Each cohort of young people leaving foster care costs society an additional $8 billion in welfare, Medicaid, lost wages and incarceration costs compared to people of the same age who were not in foster care, according to the Jim Casey initiative.

The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) collects information on youth in foster care, including sex, race, ethnicity, date of birth, and foster care status. It also collects information about the outcomes of those youth who have aged out of foster care. States began collecting data in 2010, and the first data set was submitted in May 2011.

Child Welfare Information Gateway.   Child Welfare Information Gateway  has the most recent national statistical estimates for children and youth in foster care from fiscal year (FY) 2014

Child’s Rights (fact sheet) Children’s Rights began as a project of the New York Civil Liberties Union and, later, the American Civil Liberties Union, and in 1995 became an independent nonprofit organization.

OTHER SITES OF INTEREST

Foster Care Counts Articles and informative information on foster care youth

Indian Child Welfare Act 1978   The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is a federal law that seeks to keep American Indian children with American Indian families.

Casa:  Volunteer Your Time to Change a Child’s Life

What Foster Youth need most – A family

If you are interested in learning about adopting a youth, check out the Adopt US Kids Website at  http://www.adoptuskids.org/ .