The Time to Grow: Meeting the Needs of Connecticut Youth Aging Out of Foster Care.
Updegrove, Nicole. Ruth, Lauren.
Connecticut Voices for Children.
Published: December 2016
Connecticut Voices for Children
33 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06510
This report explores the needs of Connecticut youth aging out of foster care and the provision of services to meet those needs. It reports that in 2016, 276 youth aged 18 to 23 were discharged from care; 23% of those discharges were due to failure to meet DCF expectations; and 21% of all foster youth who aged out last year left without a high school diploma, 57% left without a job, at least 46% were living in unstable housing situations, 13% were already pregnant or parenting, and only 11% had achieved an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, and at least 18% required intensive developmental or mental health services upon leaving. A follow-up of an earlier cohort of youth who had aged out found that at least 50% were relying on public assistance for food, housing, or cash welfare payments at age 21. Almost 30% had been homeless in the last two years, and almost the same number had been incarcerated. It is explained that the total cessation of State support for these vulnerable youth leaves them without necessary resources and without a safety net. Recommendations are made for improving services and include: assist youth in better preparing for the future, including innovation in case planning, ongoing education about post-secondary policies, comprehensive discharge planning, and developing contingency plans; enhance supports for older youth seeking connections with their biological and foster families; provide a guaranteed 90-day transition period for all youth leaving care; prevent youth from discharging into homelessness and intervene in the event of homelessness; and expand data collection regarding youth outcomes after leaving care. 117 references.
Connecticut; foster care; foster adolescents; aging out; academic achievement; extended foster care; homelessness; child welfare reform; mental health services