Monday, young people with experience in foster care teamed up with legislators and child welfare experts from across the country to head to Washington D.C., and help launch Success Beyond 18, a national campaign of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to create a better path for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.
Speakers included Gary Stangler, Executive Director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the current chair of the National Governors Association, the President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and young people with experience in foster care. An interactive panel discussion involving other child welfare experts followed, including Mark Courtney with Chapin Hall, who has long studied the benefits of extending services and support, Barbara Langford with Mainspring Consulting, who helped develop a fiscal analysis of a potential program of extended services and support in Nebraska, and others.
Success Beyond 18 shares three policy and practice goals to give states a way to take action. The first is to extend youth-driven, age-appropriate services and support to age 21 for youth who have aged out of foster care. The Nebraska Legislature has taken steps to accomplish this right here in our state by advancing LB 216, the Young Adult Voluntary Services and Support Act, introduced by Senator Amanda McGill, to Select File last month. The remaining two goals focus on promoting youth voice and engagement in case planning and providing quality oversight to ensure that services both in and out of the system are developmentally appropriate and lead to positive life outcomes. Nebraska continues to work on these two goals by emphasizing the importance of youth voice during the transition planning process and developing methods of improving oversight of existing services.
Help support Success Beyond 18 and set young people transitioning from foster care on the right track for success by taking action on LB 216. Call or write your state senator and tell them LB 216 gives young people transitioning from foster care a real opportunity to be productive, healthy, and engaged members of our community as adults.
To learn more about the Success Beyond 18 campaign and how you can get involved in other ways:
- visit the Success Beyond 18 website
- “like” the Jim Casey Initiative on Facebook
- follow the Jim Casey Initiative (@jimcaseyyouth) on Twitter
Watch this Success Beyond 18 public service announcement: