The Family First Act (FFA), passed in 2018, sought to respond to the needs of transition age youth in foster care. Given that LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care are at an increased risk of aging out of foster care1, it is important for supportive adults in a queer young person’s life to understand the best way to support them as they transition into adulthood.
Why do LGBTQIA2S+ Older Youth Need Our Support?
Like all young people, LGBTQIA2S+ transition age youth need support to make a successful transition to adulthood. Due to an increased risk of becoming homeless2, and an increased risk of experiencing human trafficking3, it is imperative that LGBTQIA2S+ transition age youth receive the support afforded to them by the FFA so that they can successfully transition into adulthood.
How can we help LGBTQIA2S+ Older Youth Successfully Transition to Adulthood?
- Per FFA, transition planning is to begin when the youth is 14 years-old. Ensure that this transition planning rule is followed by advocating for LGBTQIA2S+ youth in your care in the appropriate setting (ie with their caseworker, caregiver(s), and/or legal team)
- FosterClub has a Transition Toolkit to help foster youth plan for their transition into adulthood
- Help queer older youth identify if their state allows services to youth up to age 23. If so, help them determine if that’s the best path for them and how to apply
- Ensure LGBTQIA2S+ older youth are being provided with documentation that proves they were in foster care
- Help queer older youth learn about education and training vouchers as well as how to gain access to these vouchers
- Help LGBTQIA2S+ older youth understand what the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood (Chafee) is and how to access the Chafee funds
With the right support, all LGBTQIA2S+ older youth can have a successful transition to adulthood. Together, we can make sure all queer youth have access to the necessary supports to make their transition successful.
For more information on how to support older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, visit the other parts of this series!
- Part 1: Transition Plannning with Older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care
- Part 2: Supporting Older LGBTQIA2S+ in Foster Care
- Part 3: Policy Corner: Understanding Family First Act's Impact on LGBTQIA2S+ Older Youth in Foster Care
Want to learn more? Check out these resources:
- Helping Youth Transition to Adulthood: Guidance for Foster Parents
- Our American States Podcast - State, Federal Policies Aim to Ease Transition Out of Foster Care
- Education and Skills Training May Ease Transition to Adulthood for Young People Involved in Foster Care
What Lived Experience Leaders Say:
- A Historic Opportunity to Reform the Child Welfare System: Youth & Alumni Priorities on Older Youth Successful Transition to Adulthood
- Preventing Homelessness Among Young Adults from Foster Care
- Improving the Transition to Independent Adulthood
1LGBTQ in Child Welfare: A Systematic Review of Literature