Hundreds of young adults, 18 to 21, age out of foster care each year in Maryland. Many are soon homeless or forced to rely on public assistance. The Family Unification Program can help. A collaborative effort between the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland Department of Human Resources, it provides vouchers to help youth obtain housing from private landlords, paying as little as 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income toward rent and utilities.
Central Office Maryland Department of Human Resources
Maryland Independent Living Services or Ready By 21 Services are available to youth ages 14 to 21 in out-of-home placement and are designed to prepare youth to transition from foster care into self-sufficiency. Each of Maryland’s twenty-four local departments of social services has an Independent Living Coordinator (ILC). They assist youth and their caseworkers with all independent living services in the following areas:
Maryland’s “Ready by 21” Program helps foster children 14 and older prepare for independence when they turn 21. Ready by 21 provides assistance with accessing education or training programs; finding and keeping a job; developing a supportive network of family and friends; finding housing; training to manage your own finances; and getting access to healthcare.
CASA volunteers of teenagers (17-20) should begin the process of incorporating independent living skills into their relationship and activities with the youth. This is an opportunity to practice life skills and explore the resources within the community.
Youth can be guided through the online learning sites listed below:
Youthhood.org: youthhood.org has information for youth regarding health, education, social situations and self-advocacy.
Children in foster care who have aCASA volunteer are more likely to succeed in school and adjust to change. And they’re half as likely to re-enter the foster care system later. By getting involved with CASA, you can make all the difference for a child who has experienced abuse or neglect in you community. Get involved, and change a child’s story.