The Juvenile Law Center and PA Partnerships for Children have released a fact sheet about Transition Age Youth, Fostering Successful Youth Transitions in Pennsylvania: Laying the Groundwork for Positive Change.
The fact sheet shows how young people fare from foster care to adulthood, as confirmed by recently released data by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Specifically, Transition Age Youth in foster care have poorer outcomes, compared to youth in the general population, across areas such as employment, education and housing. In addition, far too often, Transition Age Youth are aging out of foster care without a permanent family or a positive supportive connection.
The fact sheet outlines steps to advancing protections to ensure the successful transition for this population, and these efforts can begin now by first enacting legislation to promote permanency.
In July 2018, the Supreme Court invalidated Act 80 of 2012, which includes an array of provisions, but specific to older foster youth impacts extended adoption assistance and permanent legal custodianship subsidies for young people between the ages of 18 and 21. Without these provisions, there is no clear authorization for county child welfare agencies to enter into agreements for permanency subsidies with kinship or foster families for this age group. Act 80 has been integral in increasing adoption and permanent legal custodianship rates for Transition Age Youth, which ensures positive outcomes long term. To continue its practice of providing support as young adult’s transition to adulthood—both through extended foster care to age 21 and extended permanency subsidies—Pennsylvania must reenact the provisions of Act 80 in new legislation.