Promising Practices: Supporting Transition of Youth Served by the Foster Care System

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National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine

National Resource Center for Youth Services, University of Oklahoma

In an effort to develop criteria and recommendations for, and information on, promising practices by child welfare agencies to improve youth successfully transitioning to adulthood, the researchers surveyed 99 such agencies across the United States. Agencies surveyed were public and private, for-profit and nonprofit. After reviewing the surveys, the researchers conducted telephone interviews with staff at 22 agencies that seemed to be strong in the areas of education and employment, then selected 10 of these for site visits.

Based on survey data, as well as input from experts in the field and relevant literature, the researchers developed criteria and recommendations for successful programs. Among them: provide "real world" activities for youth to practice life skills, regularly complete and review life skills assessments with youth, and assist programs in operationalizing the youth development philosophy into agencies and programs. In-depth interviews reveal that most programs depend on local schools to provide post-secondary educational counseling and services to increase literacy.

The report's list of notable programs and resources includes: Casey Family Program San Antonio Division, Tex.; Denver Department of Human Services, Alive-E Youth in Transition, Colo., and United Friends of the Children-Bridges to Independence, Culver City, Calif. 107 pages. A draft version of the report is available online. A final version will be available in May. Contact: Talmira Hill, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 701 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202. (410) 547-6600.