Aging Out of Foster Care and What Options Are Available Research Proposal

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Aging Out of Foster Care and the Options Available

As youth age out of foster care, the options available to them are presently limited.

Youth who are aging out of the formal foster care program are considered to be at high risk in several areas, as this research study will show. While there are conflicting statistics, the existing gaps are clear and only recently policy makers have begun to acknowledge these gaps in funding and service provision.

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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Aging Out of Foster Care and What Options Are Available Assignment

The report of Rachel H. Sherman entitled; "Serving Youth Aging Out of Foster Care" states that in excess of 500,000 American children live in foster care. The most current federal data indicate that more than 19,000 youth between the ages of 18 and 21 'aged out' of the foster care system in fiscal 2001." (2004) This report states that these young individuals leave foster care with "few resources and very little support." (Sherman, 2004) Stated to be factors that potentially disrupt the "successful transition to adulthood include unemployment, incarceration, homelessness, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancy, limited education, and inadequate health care." (Sherman, 2004) These youth are able to derive benefit "from opportunities to develop the skills necessary for independent living and from access to support services that can help them navigate the transition to adulthood." (Sherman, 2004) Services and programs that can assist these youth in this transition to development into adults that are self-sufficient however, the problem that exists is the differences in state and local funding sources to assist youth who are aging out of foster care and this includes Title IV-E funds, as well as state and private funding. Programs that have been created by Federal legislation that provides a framework for assistance to youth who are aging out of the foster care program. One of these is the federal Independent Living Program (ILP) which was authorized by PL 99-272 in 1985 under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act and which was reauthorized indefinitely by P.L. 103-66 in 1993. This 1993 legislation provided authorization of federal funding amount to $70 million each years to enable states to make provision of services to youth in the age range of 16 to 18 to assist them in this transition. Additionally, the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-169) which effectively renamed the Independent Living Program as the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) and expanded eligibility for independent living services to youth in the age range between 18 and 21 who have aged out of the foster care program. Additionally this doubled the state funding for provision of these services to the amount of $140 million. (Sherman, 2004; paraphrased) the requirement is that states contributing 20% in funds to match yet many states "have not drawn down the full amount of available federal funds because they have not contributed the full match amount." (Sherman, 2004) Many of these states and localities are stated to make the choice to provide a supplement to these funds with their own money. It is reported that a 2003 amendment to the CFCIP made authorization of $60 million for the Chafee Education and Training Vouchers Program for distribution to states for postsecondary educational and training vouchers "for youth likely to experience difficulties as they transition to adulthood after age 18." (Sherman, 2004) Youth in this program also receive aftercare from referring child welfare agency as well as other services that support their transition to independent living. Competitive grants are provided to local agencies by Youthbuild for making provision of education as well as counseling, training for jobs and development of leadership to youth who are unemployed and those already out of school in the age range of 16 to 24. Participants in this program have the opportunity to work toward earning their high school diploma of GED certificate while learning skills relating to construction including the purchase of housing that is affordable for the homeless and low-income. HUD has released, in the past seven years, in excess of $300 million in grants to the Youthbuild programs in the United States. Older Homeless youth are assisted by HHS in funding of the Transitional Living Program which makes provision of "longer-term residential and support services to homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 21 for up to 18 months to help them achieve self-sufficiency." (Sherman, 2004) Finally states Sherman, "many young people who have aged out of foster care may be eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. They must meet the eligibility and work requirements that apply to adult recipients." (Sherman, 2004)

II. 2007-2008 PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE

The 2007-2008 Presidential Initiative entitled; "Youth Aging Out of Foster Care: Identifying Strategies and Best Practices" states that county governments "play an important role in the foster care system and operate the child welfare system in 13 states." (Gardener, 2008) Yet, it is reiterated in Gardener's work as was stated in the previous work reviewed that the types of provisions of the counties in the U.S. states is different and counties in the U.S. states are responsible for "providing access to the social safety net that young adults aging out of foster care need to succeed in their lives and in their communities." (Gardener, 2008) the Family Unification Program (FUP) is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that funds agencies including housing assistance and transitional assistance for youth who age out of the foster care program." (Gardener, 2008) Requirements for this program include the age requirement of 18 to 21 years of age and who left foster care "after age 16." (Gardener, 2008) Gardener's work identifies general outcomes for youth who are aging out of foster care. Educational outcomes stated by Gardener include the fact that while all children "are entitled to education services under the federal, state and local laws, the specific educational needs of children and youth in care often go unmet." (2008) However, the Midwest Study, as reported by Gardener states findings that "young adults who age out of foster care are 'more than twice as likely not to have a high school diploma or a GED as their peers." (Gardener, 2008) Gardener states however, in contrast that "...only 30% of the young adults in the Midwest Study had completed any college compared with 53% of 21-year-olds nationally." (Gardener, 2008) There are clearly conflicting reports according to Gardener in terms of educational outcomes for the youth aging out of foster care. In the area of Healthcare, it is related that lack of health care "for young people leaving foster care...poses a substantial challenge. A recent study reported that around 25% of the youth aging out of foster care and who had experienced foster care later had reported experiencing post-trauma stress." (Gardener, 2008) Healthcare is generally a provision of Medicaid and most youth are at risk of losing this coverage once having aged out of the foster care program.

III. TORO

The work of Paul a. Toro entitled: "Youth Aging Out of Foster Care and Homelessness in the U.S. And Other Developed Nations" states that the problem of homelessness has only in the past twenty years become visible and "little discussion on how to prevent homelessness has occurred in the research literature." (2008) Toro further states that specific groups are 'at risk' for homelessness. In fact, studies report that approximately "20-40% of adults who are homeless were once in formal care" including foster care, orphanage and psychiatric center care. (Toro, 2008) the problems associated with youth aging out of "the formal care system have been increasingly recognized in the last 20 years in many nations" and it certain that "much remains to be done to understand the needs of those aging out and to design effective interventions for them." (Toro, 2008) Youth aging out of foster care have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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