The transition from foster care to independent living can be both an exciting and challenging season of life for foster youth and young adults. To help you be prepared and ready to help your foster youth transition, we’ve created a “Transitioning to Adulthood” checklist of things that you can do to help them be prepared!
- Discuss future jobs, careers, and the possibility of college or vocational training
Help them dream for the future while having a practical conversation about job and college opportunities for when they exit foster care. Encourage them to look at their strengths and their interests and make a list of goals and career possibilities for the future. Create conversation surrounding postsecondary education and make lists of job opportunities.
- Encourage them to participate in community events and volunteer opportunities
Involvement in the community and building social networks will help them with career and college planning, building a support system, and networking for job opportunities!
- Include them in meetings with their school, advocates, as well as, other members of their team whenever possible
Begin to teach them how to ask good questions, raise concerns, converse with adults, and, most importantly, advocate for themselves.
- Discuss plan for graduating high school
It’s essential to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the plan for graduating. If necessary, exploring the school’s plan for IEP’s and the district’s program for graduating between the ages of 18-21 can offer continued support and benefits.
- If applicable, apply for SSI/Medicaid, DDR, and DV
If applicable, talk to your foster youth about deadlines and the paperwork involved with applying for these services. Applying for these programs while they are still in your foster home can help them have one less thing to worry about as they make the transition, as well as, help them be better prepared for independent living.
- Make a plan for working, transportation, housing, and basic needs
As the transition out of foster care draws near, a foster parent can help their youth be best prepared by sitting down with them and creating a plan for their transition and for providing for themselves and their basic needs. This goes beyond planning for future careers and college but includes looking at the details of their plans.
There are many details and questions that need to be answered as a youth begins to plan for independent living. Having conversations, making lists, and planning can help them have a successful transition and future! This is a great time to have further conversations about your involvement in their life and what role you will continue to play in supporting them.
- Start financial planning with them
This is an important part of transition planning! Create a budget and go over the cost it will take to live. Help your foster youth set up checking and savings accounts and create a plan for saving and spending responsibly.
- Create a plan for healthcare
Walk them through answering important questions about health insurance and where they will receive medical and dental treatment. Help them to understand any co-pays and fees that they will have to pay. If there are any health issues or disabilities take the opportunity to review the care plan with them.
- Encourage them to factor in social and community involvement
Encourage healthy relationships in your foster youth’s life. Have a conversation identifying the healthy friendships and support systems in place. Help them to see the importance of community over isolation. For example, a local church is a great place to encourage involvement as it provides community and a place to belong.
- Focus on learning independent living skills in the home
Encourage responsibility wherever and whenever possible. Spend time in the kitchen making healthy meals and be intentional about teaching them how to do ordinary house chores.
- Create a list of agencies and resources for them to reach out to when they are in need
These resources can range from the churches near them where they can find a community to agencies designed to support them.
If your youth is in Georgia or Texas, connect them with a support system through Connections Homes! We will connect them with a loving, supportive mentoring family and a support system to help with their transition from the foster care system to adulthood. We provide a family to come alongside them and step into the story so that they have someone to call as they begin adulthood and as they experience all of their mountain-top and valley moments.