On December 1, 2011, the Community Service Society of New York and The Children's Aid Society convened over 200 local and national experts, policymakers, service providers and advocates to discuss the issues faced by older youth in foster care and strategies to prevent and address their disconnection from anchor social institutions like school, work, and family. This report highlights and further develops the issues raised at the forum, recommends policy directions and discusses successful program models that address the many challenges facing aging-out youth who become disconnected.
For many young people, the transition from teen to independent adult is a gradual process that extends into their mid- to late 20s, with financial and emotional support from family. Most youth make it, but a significant number don't and so they become disconnected. Youth who age-out of foster care have the hardest time getting on their feet, and without family to rely on, the odds of success are against them. But investments in the futures of these young people can result in significant benefits to them and to society. (author abstract)