Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Florida Cost-Cutting Strategies Are Putting Up A Detour Sign on the Road to Independence

Here we have a program that is working. It's helping emancipated foster care youth to make it during their transition to adulthood. Yet, in the name of efficiency, Rep. Grimsley has decided to fix what ain't broke. Let's give young adults LESS money per month. Let's punish them for working by cutting their stipends.

Basically this reduction is putting up a great big DETOUR sign on the Road to Independence, and setting up additional barriers for Florida foster care youth/alumni who are trying to find stable housing and employment during their transition to adulthood.

For each of the legislators that supported this measure, I wonder how much assistance their parents gave them throughout young adulthood, such as: co-signing for their first apartment, paying for college and campus housing, and providing a place to stay during college breaks. I wish they knew how different the experience of turning 18 can be when you have no family.

For those of us who grew up in foster care and "aged out" of the system, the government is the only parent that we have. Please don't try to balance the state's budget on the backs of foster care youth. You'll save a penny now, and it will cost you two dollars later -- in terms of negative outcomes.

According the St. Petersburg Times: "Compared to other Florida teens, former foster youths are 14 times more likely to be homeless, six times more likely to go on welfare, and three times more likely to end up in the criminal justice system - as victims, if not defendants."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Works for Older Youth During the Transition to Adulthood

Child Trends recently released a factsheet on What Works for Older Youth During the Transition to Adulthood.

Observations included the following:

  • Targeting low-income and or high-risk youth early during their transition to adulthood can be effective at improving education and employment outcomes.

  • Programs that were implemented over a long period of time were more effective at improving educational attainment.

  • Mentoring has a positive impact on school and employment outcomes, and is also associated with decreased delinquency.

  • Individual case managers who assess the needs of the participants, coordinate ongoing services, track participant progress, and provide ongoing support and guidance increase the probability of improved outcomes.

  • Programs that implement skills training techniques have been found to be effective at improving some outcomes, but not reproductive health outcomes. None of the sexual risk-taking programs were consistently successful at changing behaviors among youth.

  • Providing child care for participants contributes to education attainment, school attendance, employment, and earnings.

Two New Resources for Disconnected Youth

The term "disconnected youth" generally refers to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school or employed in the legitimate workforce.  

They may have had experience with the criminal justice system or have been in foster care. They aren’t receiving the education, work, civic, and family support they need to be successful adults.

Follow the Money: Funding and Legislative Opportunities on the Horizon to Serve Disconnected Youth discusses current and pending legislation that present opportunities to fund programs in communities to keep young people connected to school and recapture those who are not engaged in school or work.

Building a Comprehensive Youth Employment Delivery System: Examples of Effective Practice describes the landscape for youth in many high poverty urban communities across the country and outlines examples of effective collaboration across the education, juvenile justice and child welfare systems to address the needs of this population.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Parental Support Provided to Adult Children After Age 18

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately half of young adults ages 18 to 24 in the United States live at home with their parents:

A 2007 study sponsored by Ameriprise Financial on Money Across Generations revealed that nine out of 10 Baby Boomers have helped their adult children financially expenses such as college loans, automotive and home costs, medical expenses and/or allowing their adult child to move back home.

According to a 2005 research study on Family Support During the Transition to Adulthood:

"On average, for those living at home and those living independently, parents provide roughly $38,000 in material assistance – housing, food, educational expenses, or direct cash assistance – throughout the transition to adulthood (from age 18 to age 34). This averages to approximately $2,200 annually."

Please note that the amount of material assistance, $38,000 is cited in 2001 dollars. When the amount is adjusted to 2009 dollars using the CPI Conversion Calculator, it is $46,694.