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Study: Foster Youth Face Challenges Transitioning to Adulthood

Study: Foster Youth Face Challenges Transitioning to Adulthood

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2018
Contact: Lee Nichols
512-796-9877
[email protected]

Dallas, Texas — Most individuals find the transition to adulthood difficult – but for alumni of the foster care system, making that transition is uniquely overwhelming. Difficulty acquiring postsecondary education and mental health care, housing instability and homelessness, pregnancy and parenting, and lack of relational support all pose obstacles to a successful adulthood for foster care youth.

Those challenges are the focus of Where Do We Go From Here? Demystifying the Transitional Experiences of Texas Foster Youth, a new study from TexProtects, Champions for Safe Children. Based on surveys and focus-group conversations with 41 foster alumni, the report makes recommendations to meet the needs of these emerging adults at the personal, direct relationship level as well as recommendations to state lawmakers for the 2019 Texas Legislative Session. Importantly, the study elevates the voices of the youth themselves.

“Through direct quotes from participants, the study brings to life the foster alumni’s need for supportive relationships as they transition, from both foster parents and institutions,” said Dr. Dana Booker, study author and Director of Research for TexProtects. “Coinciding with the release of the A.E. Casey Family Foundation’s Fostering Youth Transitions: Using Data to Drive Policy and Practice Decisions, policy makers have a wealth of information to help foster youth launch successfully into adulthood.”

In the 2017 legislative session, lawmakers, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Department of Family and Protective Services made significant progress in reforming and improving the Child Protective Services and foster care systems, including:

• Increases in kinship care via improved financial assistance

• Expansion of community-based foster care

• Growth of treatment-based foster care in most regions

• Salary increases and additional hires that reduced staff turnover and improved caseloads

“TexProtects is proud of the advocacy efforts, in conjunction with our partner organizations in the Child Protection Roundtable, that made these reforms possible. However, we agree that the previous legislative session was a beginning, not an end, and there is more work to be done,” said TexProtects’ Vice President of Public Affairs, Pamela McPeters.

“The report will inform TexProtects’ work in the 86th Texas Legislature as we build upon last session’s productive legislation, incorporate guidance from the ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court in the federal foster care suit, and create the infrastructure necessary to implement the federal Family First Prevention Services Act. We are confident that we can work with policymakers to craft a Texas solution to keeping more children out of foster care and further protecting those who do need its services,” said Sophie Phillips, CEO of TexProtects.

In the 2019 session, TexProtects calls on the 86th Texas Legislature to:

• Invest in navigator programs and evidence-informed services tailored to the needs of relative (kinship) caregivers to reduce children from entering or re-entering foster care.

• Expand foster care capacity through recruitment and retention of quality and therapeutic homes so children can remain in their communities where they can heal and succeed.

• Improve services for pregnant and parenting foster youth to strengthen parent attachment and reduce intergenerational child maltreatment.

• Invest in Supervised Independent Living (extended foster care) to expand capacity for young adults to live on their own.

A pdf of Where Do We Go From Here? Demystifying the Transitional Experiences of Texas Foster Youth is attached to this email. Also, it may be accessed any time at https://www.texprotects.org/media/uploads/demystifying_foster_youth_transition_report_2018.pdf

Posted on December 6, 2018.

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