Transitional Aged Youth Need Supports to Achieve Self-Sufficiency


Executive Summary


There is a population of youth in today’s foster care system who require specialized attention to guide them toward a path of self-sufficiency.  These are known as Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) and by definition, include youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are in transition from state custody or foster care. The successful integration of any TAY population into society requires support. According to some researchers, the typical youth is not expected to reach self-sufficiency until the age of 26 and receives, on average, $44,500 in parental support after age 18.  So for youth in foster care, it is no wonder that this transition can be an exceedingly rocky one.  This is due, to some degree, to the lack of a coordinated support system which would normally assist foster youth in the absence of parental figures.  In general, foster youth in this age group are often at risk for homelessness, increased incidents of juvenile justice involvement, higher levels of unemployment, and a lack of post-secondary education.


By looking at the foundation of federal legislation which currently supports state and local agency TAY service administration, states can continue to find ways to improve service delivery as well as develop proactive approaches to assist their transitional aged foster youth with barriers to succeed as they transition to adulthood.  From the perspective of the youth, failure to take appropriate action in support of their transition can have life-long implications that affect their ability to attend college, earn a decent wage, and have appropriate health care coverage.  Therefore, drawing from the intent of the legislation as well as from the experiences of the child welfare agencies and federal programs implementing TAY support programs, this paper offers recommendations aimed at helping agencies take a more collaborative, outcome-based and person-centered approach to providing TAY services in the five federal program areas identified as most critical to youth reaching self-sufficiency: 1) Social Supports; 2) Health Care Coverage; 3)Employment Initiatives; 4) Housing Supports; and 5) Post-Secondary Education Opportunities. 


A copy of the full paper on this topic can be accessed here: 

PCG Transitional_Aged_Youth_With_Barriers_White_Paper-1.pdf (701.94 kb)

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