The Annie E. Casey Foundation Shares New Policy Brief on Supporting Youth and Young Adults Transition From Foster Care

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Annie E. Casey Foundation Shares New Policy Brief on Supporting Youth and Young Adults Transition From Foster Care

With a national moratorium on youth aging out of foster care set to expire on Sept. 30 — leading to thousands of young people facing eviction from the foster care system and further uncertainty — the Annie E. Casey Foundation is calling on state and federal policymakers to urgently reform and expand the resources, tools and guidance young people need as they move into adulthood.

Toward this end, the Foundation has released "From COVID-19 Response to Comprehensive Change: Policy Reforms to Equip Youth and Young Adults in Foster Care to Thrive." The brief urges policymakers to build a reform agenda that draws on the temporary pandemic-relief measures enacted in the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act and specifically calls on Congress to pass legislation introduced in the House of Representatives to extend this emergency aid that was appropriated during the pandemic.


Nearly 900,000 youth and young adults are eligible for this critical emergency relief. When it expires, hundreds of thousands of young people will no longer be able to receive extended foster care, housing assistance or other well-being resources under this temporary programming.

Rather than being allowed to expire in the coming months — some as soon as next week — these emergency measures should serve as building blocks to a comprehensive approach to healing, family stability and economic security for young people.

Casey recommends comprehensive reforms that would enable child welfare agencies to build lasting connections for youth and young adults with family and supportive adults before they reach the age of 18; allow young adults to continue receiving services through age 26; and expand access to age-appropriate support to bridge their journey from foster care into adulthood. The Foundation also calls for greater investment in approaches aimed at reducing the harmful disparities that exist for many Black and Latino youth, who compared to white peers are overrepresented in the child welfare system and have a higher chance of experiencing homelessness, living in poverty, being unemployed and facing other challenges after they age out of foster care.

"From COVID-19 Response to Comprehensive Change" was developed in consultation with young people who have experienced foster care. One of its chief recommendations is that policies governing the system be developed in partnership with youth and families.

“Temporary federal relief provided during the COVID-19 pandemic has been critical, but the lack of adequate service and support infrastructure across states has been a challenge in realizing its potential,” says Todd Lloyd, senior policy associate with the Casey Foundation. “Congress must ensure states are positioned and accountable for a comprehensive and ongoing approach to serving these youth and young adults if they are to thrive. The potential of such an approach is within reach and swift action could serve as a down payment.”

Each year more than 23,000 youth age out of foster care without being reunited with their families or developing other permanent relationships. These young adults face a much steeper climb to adulthood than their peers who have supportive networks. The consequences of being without family or economic resources makes them more likely to struggle with unmet health needs, school and work, and they are more likely to experience homelessness and poverty...

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