As a part of The Possibilities Project, for over the past year we have worked with a panel of experts who has identified over 40 policy recommendations to improve life outcomes and support youth who age out of foster care.
The TPP Panel of Experts, co-chaired by Senator Favola (D- 31st District) and Delegate Peace (R – 97th District), included youth in The Possibilities Project as well as state and national experts in housing, employment, education, finance, healthcare and permanency. The Panel convened in 2018 and over the course of 13 months, worked diligently to identify equitable, trauma-informed, youth focused policy recommendations.
Why is this so important? Research shows when youth age out of foster care without a permanent, stable family, they are more likely to face harsh life outcomes: within two years of aging out, 1 in 5 youth become homeless, 1 in 4 are incarcerated and almost 3 in 4 female youth become pregnant. However, with the right intervening supports during young adulthood, youth can overcome their circumstances and be successful, thriving, independent adults. Virginia has the 2nd highest rate of youth aging out of foster care, with over 400 youth aging out each year. With the right supports, Virginia can help these youth be successful adults.
TPP’s Panel of Experts identified policy recommendations on how the community can intervene and be a part of the solution that equips aged out youth for success. Its more than 40 recommendations include codifying Fostering Futures and investing in stabilizing the statewide social services workforce. The Panel also recommended community partners carve out employment opportunities for aged out youth and colleges assist with housing during school breaks and holidays for students who have aged out. The full report provides both legislative and administrative policy recommendations, as well as recommendations on how businesses, community partners and individuals can intervene and support youth who age out of foster care.
Children’s Home Society and Better Housing Coalition, along with the help of the Panel of Experts, and the general community, will now work to implement these policy recommendations. Please visit https://chsva.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/CHS-Panel-of-Experts-Policy-Brief-Final-v11_13_19.pdf to see the full report produced by the Panel of Experts. Thank you to our panel of experts for all of their work and commitment to youth who have aged out of foster care!