Tag Archives: NYC youth

Transitioning into Disconnection: The Need To Reevaluate America’s Foster-Care System

Aging out of the foster care system without being properly equipped for survival is one cause for youth disconnection. Approximately 29,000 youths are released from foster care every year at the age of 18. Foster care youth do not have personal assets or financial savings to rely on once they have left the foster care system. This makes it extremely difficult to secure housing or withstand the effects of unforeseen problems in their personal lives or with the economy. Additionally, unlike other teenagers these youth do not have a network of family and friends which they can turn to for assistance. They are completely on their own and thus, susceptible to a number of problems.

Released foster youth are also forced to grow up faster than ordinary youth because they do not have the emotional and financial support one needs when things suddenly go wrong in life. They must quickly muster the responsibility, diligence, and patience necessary to cope with all of the “adult battles” they will face once released from the foster care system. Without the necessary aid and proper transitioning training, these youths may fall prey to homelessness, unemployment, mental illness, criminality, substance abuse, along with several other problems.

The principal program designed to support youth during their transition from foster care to living independently is the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. It provides about $140 million in funding every year for mental health services, mentoring, employment preparation, educational aid, stipends for housing, and extended Medicaid eligibility. Although this bill looks promising, it is severely limited. Only two-fifths of youth receive independent living services and availability varies widely from state to state. Also, although the budget is a large sum of money, it only translates to about $1,000 per youth, which is barely enough to afford decent housing conditions. A bill recently signed into effect, the Fostering Connections to Success Act, is better able to provide the funding these youth need. Unfortunately—and unwisely—states are not mandated to utilize this funding and many have actually chosen to discontinue foster care benefits when the youth is released.

It has been discovered that released youth who receive foster care benefits until the age of 21 have a greater chance of avoiding the challenges of transitioning from foster care to living independently. Clark Peters, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s School of Social Work, believes that all states should extend foster care benefits. According to his research, “Foster youth who continue to receive benefits through age 21 have improved outcomes including a greater likelihood of attending college and achieving financial stability.”

In his study, Peters also found that having the benefits of continued care outweighed the costs of not having it by 2 to 1. In other words, youth that receive the aid have more opportunities to make effective changes to living independently and as a result, they utilize fewer governmental benefits later in life and have higher incomes (resulting in more tax revenue for state and federal governments). Therefore, there is real incentive on the governments’ part to extend these benefits—not only is it advantageous for the foster care youth but also for the society as a whole.

Obviously states do not realize the implications of allowing foster youth to receive their aid. Nonetheless, there are a number of non-government supported programs in the United States that are dedicated to helping released youth make a successful transition out of the foster care system. Their endeavors, however, would be a little less challenging if more states were willing to extend foster care benefits.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110203141826.htm;
http://www.transad.pop.upenn.edu/downloads/courtney–foster%20care.pdf
 
by Betty Diop (Re:LIFE Writer/Columnist)
Pace University
B.A. Applied Psychology

Edited by Chike Ukaegbu

1 Comment

Filed under ReLIFE, Youth, Youth Development

Welcome to Re:LIFE’s Blog

Dear Readers,
Firstly, welcome to Re:LIFE’s Blog. We hope to bring you the latest on everything that affects youth and youth development. However, we’d first like to provide you with all the info you need to contact and/or seek us out.
Please support us in our endeavors to help impact youth lives positively. In order to effectively reach us, I have listed our details below. Please feel free to use them and share them with all who might be interested. Thank you.
Mission: Re:LIFE’s Mission is to effectively refine and then infuse disconnected minority youth back into society as responsible citizens.
Vision: Re:LIFE’s Vision is to re-engage male youth for the pertinent advancement of subsequent generations of youth; catapulting their expectations of themselves of a higher and boundless region, beyond the limits of the impossible.
Description: Re:LIFE achieves its goals through its rich and unique programs. These programs are greatly centered on ENTREPRENEURSHIP. This is because we believe that Entrepreneurship provides the platform to inspire, as well as introduce a new realm of possibilities, which might not have been available to most of our Youth.
Company Overview: Re:LIFE Inc is a Community Based Non-Profit Organization redefining the approach of salvaging ‘out of work and out of school’ minority male youth. We provide the needed training, opportunities, motivation and relevant life skills necessary for the proper grooming of our Youth. Re:LIFE’s goal is to create educationally, socially and fiscally responsible youth in New York City.
For more Info about Re:LIFE Inc and its Services:
Email: relife@relifeinc.org
Call: 347.450.1201/06
Follow us on Twitter: relifeinc
Add us on LinkedIn: Re:LIFE Incorporated
Like our Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/hewFET
Become a LIFEr Today: http://bit.ly/fN6B0b
Visit our Website: http://www.relifeinc.org

Leave a comment

Filed under ReLIFE, Uncategorized, Youth