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Emancipating and/or Older Youth
Promising Practices and Policies from States and Tribes
  • California:
    • Independent Living Program (ILP) 
      The ILP provides training, services and programs to assist current and former foster youth in achieving self-sufficiency prior to and after leaving the foster care system.
    • Transitional Housing Placement Program (THPP) 
      In addition to participating in the Independent Living Program (ILP), some foster youth participate in THPP. The THPP is a community care licensed placement opportunity for youth in foster care. The goal of the THPP is to help participants emancipate successfully by providing a safe environment for youth to practice the skills learned in ILP. This webpage also provides information on California’s Transitional Housing Program for Emancipated Foster/Probation Youth (THP-Plus).
  • New Jersey: Keeping Your DYFS Case Open Until 21 in New Jersey: The Experiences of Young People Like You
    This video for youth from the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services features interviews of youth talking about the benefits of keeping their cases open past age 18. The youth discuss receiving voluntary services, including housing, financial, transportation, life skills, employment, education, Medicaid, and other services. The video also provides information to youth about how to re-open their case if it is closed.
  • New York: Transition Plans 
    The NY OCFS website provides information on the regulations and requirements related to transition plans, which are created to help older foster youth make a successful transition from foster care to self-sufficiency. The following forms can be found on the website: OCFS-4922 Transition Plan Form Part One Transition Plan Discussion and OFCS-4923 Transition Plan Form Part Two Transition Plan Update and Summary.
  • Texas
    • Extended Foster Care 
      Fostering Connections provided states the option of extending foster care for young adults between the ages of 18 and 21. The Texas legislature authorized DFPS in the 81st legislative session (2009) to expand the extended foster care program as described on the DFPS website.
    • Transition Planning 
      DFPS policy in CPS Handbook 6423 already required the development of a Transition Plan for a youth when the youth turn 16 while in DFPS care. As a result of the Fostering Connections legislation, this policy was amended to require a transition plan meeting within 90 days of a youth turning 18 in care and within 90 days of a youth leaving extended care.
  • Washington

    • Foster Care to 21 
      The Foster Care to 21 program allows youth to remain in foster care after they graduate from high school or obtain their GED until age 21, so that they can pursue postsecondary education (college or vocational program). This program provides: foster care placement, medical coverage, and other agreed upon support services. This website provides information on eligibility and how to apply, program documents, and information on the formal complaint process.
T/TA & Web Based Resources from NRCs, Children’s Bureau, T/TA Network

  • Extending Foster Care Beyond 18: Improving Outcomes for Older Youth
    This NRCPFC information packet examines The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and its impact on services for older youth in the foster care system.  It provides statistics and analysis regarding outcomes for older youth in care, as well as a review of policy and legislation affecting this population.  The packet lists promising practices and provides additional resources.  Authored by Melissa Stein (May 2012); Edited by Lyn Ariyakulkan, MSW (June 2012) 
  • NRCYD eUpdate on Extending Foster Care Beyond Age 18 
    Independent living services, research shows, are not sufficient for many young people who “age out” of foster care and typically lack the necessary supports to be on their own at age 18. Recent evidence has contributed to the knowledge base about the need for extending foster care beyond age 18. Information about what is working and what is missing from supports and services for this population provides an opportunity for states to reevaluate service models and modify strategies to reach desired outcomes. This issue of eUpdate, from the NRC for Youth Development, offers ideas and insights to better represent distinct needs of the sub-populations of young adults and highlights the importance of good marketing to all stakeholders. (Winter 2012)
  • Transition Planning with Adolescents: A Review of Principles and Practices Across Systems 
    This paper from the National Resource Center for Youth Development and the University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, addresses the need for improved transition planning with adolescents in foster care. A review of best practices across other youth-serving systems leads to a number of recommendations for child welfare systems. (2010)
  • Tribal Approaches to Transition 
    This resource from the National Resource Center for Youth Development provides information for practitioners who work with tribal youth and is intended to help agencies meet the FCIA requirement of providing “services to Indian youth on the same basis as other youth.” (2004)
  • Supporting Youth in Transition 
    This resource is part of a series of fact sheets for States and Tribes made available by The Training and Technical Assistance Coordination Center (TTACC). These two-page briefs describe available training and technical assistance (T/TA) from the Children’s Bureau to support implementation of the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 in eight key areas. Each fact sheet offers a brief overview of the Fostering Connections Act’s provisions in the topic area, the allowable funding and costs for that area under the Act, and examples of the free training and technical assistance that the Children’s Bureau’s National Resource Centers and Implementation Centers can give States and Tribes in that area.
Resources from Collaborating Organizations
  • Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Implications for Providers, Impact on Budgets 
    One important provision of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act extended federal support for keeping foster youth in care until age 21. The goal is to improve educational and health-related outcomes. This extension of care has significant implications for service providers as they plan adaptations to their programs for a group of older youth who need services that will help prepare them for independence. It has implications as well for the budgets of state agencies and program providers. This webinar, from Urban Institute and Chapin Hall, offered a discussion on extending foster care to age 21 and its implications for providers and impact on budgets. (May 2011)
  • Foster Care to 21: Doing it Right 
    The federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 provides support to states to extend foster care to age 21 for certain young people. If foster care is extended to age 21 in a developmentally appropriate way, it can help put young people on a trajectory toward success. However, if that extension is merely a continuation of existing practices that emphasize only independent living services, services will not be effective for young adults, nor will young adults want to take advantage of the benefits that extended foster care can offer. What constitutes “extended foster care”? Why is it important for young people to remain in foster care beyond age 18? How should we design foster care to 21 to most effectively meet the needs of young adults in care? This issue brief from the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative examines these questions and provides guidance on how to provide foster care to 21 the “right way.” (2011)
  • Charting a Better Future for Transitioning Youth 
    In April 2010, the American Bar Association’s Commission on Youth at Risk convened a National Summit on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act to address how this legislation affects youth and young adults involved in and “aging out of” the foster care system. The summit brought together over 100 leaders and experts for “action-oriented” dialogue that inspired, educated, and produced this   blueprint of recommendations for national and state leaders to implement new approaches for addressing the unique needs of youth leaving the foster care system. (2010)
  • Connected by 25: Financing Housing Supports for Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care 
    This strategy brief was written by The Finance Project with support from the Foster Care Work Group to assist policymakers, child welfare administrators, program developers, and community leaders with addressing the housing needs of youth aging out of foster care. Includes financing strategies, funding sources, and noteworthy programs that have successfully implemented these financing strategies. (May 2009)
  • Continuing Foster Care Beyond 18: How Courts Can Help 
    This Chapin Hall Issue Brief discusses a study which involved analysis of administrative data, a statewide survey of caseworkers, focus groups with substitute caregivers and with youth, and site visits to interview court personnel across the state of Illinois. (July 2008)
  • Permanency Pact Toolkit 
    This free tool, developed by FosterClub, promotes permanency for youth in care by providing the structure and verbalized commitment that is needed to establish a positive, kin-like relationship between a youth in care and a supportive adult. (2006)
Evidence-Based Practice, Research, and Reports
  • What Works for Older Youth During the Transition to Adulthood 
    This Child Trends fact sheet examines the role that programs for older youth can play in promoting positive development and subsequent self-sufficiency in adulthood. It synthesizes the findings from 31 rigorous evaluations of programs; all of the programs evaluated youth outcomes during the transition to adulthood (ages 18 to 25), pub programs varied in the ages of targeted youth. (March 2010)
  • Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Weighing the Costs to Government against the Benefits to Youth
    Under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, the federal government will reimburse states for providing care beyond age 18 for Title IV-E eligible foster youth. This research by Chapin Hall analyzes the potential benefits and costs of allowing foster youth to remain in care until age 21. Their estimates of the potential costs are based on survey data from a longitudinal study of young people aging out of care in three Midwestern states as well as information about placement costs provided by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Their estimates of the potential benefits focus on the increase in postsecondary educational attainment associated with extending care and the resulting increase in lifetime earnings associated with postsecondary education. Click here to access the Issue Brief with preliminary cost and benefit estimates. Click here to access the Full Report. (2009)