More than half the youth we serve will age out of foster care to independence. Unfortunately, as the youth we serve reach emancipation, they are unprepared to live completely on their own. Many are forced to live with family members who were considered unfit to care for them when they were minors, live from friend to friend, or live on the streets engaging in illegal activity in order to survive. Not only are they unprepared for adulthood or self-sufficiency but many are homeless on the day their case closes. Nationwide, 3 out of 10 homeless adults report a history of foster care  which demonstrates the failings of current transition planning efforts.
Statistics demonstrate that we have no choice but to do what is necessary to better serve transitioning youth. As the Child Welfare League of America explains, youth transitioning out of foster care are “at a higher risk for unemployment, poor educational outcomes, health issues, early parenthood, long-term dependency on public assistance, increased rates of incarceration, and homelessness.”  With more than 1/3 of foster care youth in Prince George’s County assigned a plan of APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement- a legal catch-all for children without hope of being placed in a forever home), more has to be done.
How CASA is Helping Transition Aged Youth
Through an initiative started in 2011, CASA is addressing the unmet needs of older foster youth, ensuring compliance with court orders and enhancing the court’s ability to serve older foster youth by providing additional support and specialized services, ultimately contributing to successful transitions to independence. In 2019 CASA also launched a Job Readiness Initiative to improve employment outcomes for older youth, ensuring a secure path to a stable future.
Learn more about how a CASA helps transition aged youth:
Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project– CASA is a member of this homeless youth workgroup which is influencing public policy in Prince George’s County and assisting the county to create programs to prevent youth homelessness using the tenants of positive youth development.
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.