Sunday, July 09, 2006

Transition Services in My Area

I don't think this is a state-wide thing. I think it is just the valley.

The permanency program for which I work has provided a couple of staff people who work with all kids who are emancipating from foster care. The kids actually in the program qualify for some pretty impressive job training and educational money. All the kids may qualify for a federally funded rent assistance program. The social workers help them with planning, job hunting, and budget-writing.

They have a small budget of money for state kids (and a somewhat larger budget for their own kids) to buy bicycles, bus passes, appropriate interview clothes, and other particular things that can help them achieve independency.

The traning/education funding is designed to get the kids through whatever post high school educational and job training they want without loans. In fact, taking out a student loan disqualifies you for future funding. They help the kids apply for every scholarship possible; insist that they work between 20 and 30 hours a week; help them write a pretty tight budget; and they pay for the rest. When Carl was in Job Corps they had a Christmas Break for two weeks. We had told Carl that of course he could spend it with us, even though the campus was open (dorms, cafeteria, and recreational areas). His social worker contacted us and said that they had decided that since the campus was open and he COULD stay there, they would only pay room and board money for Dec. 24 through Jan 1. I was not expected anything. That's when I learned that it is typical for them to pay room and board for college kids when they need a place to stay during breaks. The youth can apply for this funding for the first time until they are 24. Once they are in, they can stay until they finish. The local division has, in one case, helped a kid all the way through medical school.

On paper all of this looks great. The problem is that these services require a higher level of maturity than most emancipated foster kids have.

So many of them, David included, leave care when they are 18. T, our recent respite girl, told me that she can hardly wait until she is 18. Then she can move out and have her own place and "finally be happy." Many of the kids who leave haven't finished high school. Even those who do, make bad decisions.

That they do is not at all surprising. They are children with the legal rights of adults.


  1. I've never understood why you have the two programs. Not criticizing you understand; I just don't know what Casey is.

    Maybe I missed something in your posts.

  2. Some of the information is under "Why Permanent Foster Care" (see side bar).

    I think it is worth another post though.

  3. Re my Casey question. Here's what I found (after I got off my lazy butt and googled).

    About Casey Family Programs
    Casey Family Programs is the largest national foundation whose sole
    mission is to provide and improve – and ultimately prevent the need
    for – foster care. The foundation draws on its 40 years of experience
    and expert research and analysis to improve the lives of children and
    youth in foster care in two important ways: by providing direct
    services and support to foster families, and by promoting improvements
    in child welfare practice and policy. The Seattle-based foundation was
    established in 1966 by United Parcel Service (UPS) founder Jim Casey,
    and has a current endowment of $2 billion


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