Foster Care & Emancipated Youth

The Need

YWP’s child welfare work is focused on the development and needs of older youth who make up about half of the youth in care population (458 out of 1,061 in 2016) and a sizable percentage of the in-home population of 1,800.  Better placements combined with policies that have ensured their rights (FYRRA, allowance for clothing, transportation, etc) have improved the quality of life for youth in care.  However, youth aging out of foster care lack the guidance, support and resources necessary to sustain their lives post-emancipation therefore they experience homelessness, and unemployment at a high rate. In FY2114, 37 youth out of 123 were employed at the time of aging out.  In education, 58 out of 344 eligible youth 18-20 were enrolled in college; two graduated.



    Our Program

    Led by youth and adults working together since 1999, the Foster Care Campaign (FCC) employs, trains, and supports 35-50 foster, emancipated, and homeless youth each year (ages 15-24) who work to improve educational options, improve living conditions, decrease youth poverty, and expand youth rights.  YWP provides the training, advocacy, and system navigation support that enables individual youth to strengthen their problem solving and communication skills, expand their support networks, and learn how to use their own power and resources. Most of our youth experience significant personal growth and overcome many obstacles--improving their living conditions, graduating high school, enrolling in college, building healthy relationships, and moving into the full time workforce.  They use their life lessons and advocacy skills to advocate for system wide changes. 



      Policy Work

      Since 2000, The Foster Care Campaign (FCC) has racked up an impressive list of policy and program initiatives that have significantly impacted the quality of life and opportunities for youth in care. Our work has expanded I the past two years to include youth who are experiencing neglect and hardship but are not in care. This includes foster youth, homeless youth, youth experiencing educational and other kinds of neglect at home, youth living in extreme poverty, youth who are part of the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DYRS) and youth who have recently aged out of care. All of these youth experience similar life circumstance and challenges. 

      Click Here to Read Foster Care Testimonies


        Our Impact

        Fifteen years of YWP foster care system advocacy has led to significant changes in the lives of older youth in foster care.  YWP has secured the development and passage of laws and policies in rights, income, transportation, employment, and education. We secured contractor regulations for group homes and independent living programs. We secured $2 million each year as budget allocations spent directly on youth stipends, wages, and services. Our scrutiny and youth testimonials (link to FCC testimony) on the treatment, performance, and high costs of agency departments and contractors who serve young people resulted in higher standards for agency and contractor work. With this legal and policy framework in place, our work now is more focused on outreach and implementation and insuring the vast dollars that pass through the CFSA coffers each year ($240 million for 1,200 youth). On the individual side, YWP has reached more than 500 foster youth in our 15 years – providing support, training, coaching, jobs, social service connections, and opportunities to change the system they are part of – which they have.