Youth Port is a gateway to resources, information, and tools for young adults who are currently experiencing foster care, those who are transitioning to adulthood, and those who have aged-out.Spotlight
Tips for the holidays from the National Resource Center for Youth Development (NRCYD), Young Adult Training and Technical Assistance (YATTA) Network
Tips and ideas from YATTA Members on the holidays:
"For youth, I encourage them to see if there are organizations or other youth planning something for the holidays. I know we have a really great community here in Seattle-who (are) always willing to organize a place to stay or things like that for the holidays. I think that although the holidays are a hard time for all foster youth, it can be particularly hard for those who have recently aged-out of the (foster care) system, are off in a new community, etc. For those individuals, I encourage them to find somewhere to volunteer. We aren't the only community to find ourselves lonely during these times. I found space at local shelters volunteering at soup kitchens, churches, etc. those are some of my thoughts & I could probably think of more." – YATTA Member, Washington
For States: "Our Regional Youth Advisory Councils have Christmas parties every year. Some advisers collect donations of gifts for the youth and others even take a bus and go see Christmas lights. The first one I went to and helped with, we had an awesome homemade holiday dinner and handmade stockings stuffed with goodies! It was the first time some of the youth had ever had something like that. I had a great time and everyone went home with a little gift and some extra happiness. "- YATTA Member, Kentucky
For Youth: "I would also recommend making friends and staying connected! People at church, former foster parents and even friends' families will always invite me over for the holidays. One year I attended 4 different Thanksgiving celebrations! My foster mom tells me I'm welcome whenever because she has an extra bed. So always make and keep positive connections..." – YATTA Member, Kentucky
Tips and ideas from the Oregon Independent Living Program (ILP):
ILP Providers: many of our Contractors do a variety of things to help youth during the holidays
• Hold special holiday groups where they provide an opportunity for the youth to make a gift for someone
• Help youth plan and make a holiday dinner. Youth invite their foster parents or other important adults to attend and be served by the youth.
• ILP Provider hosts a "celebration dinner" recognizing youth's accomplishments over the year and celebrating the holidays. Again, youth can invite those special/supportive people in their life to attend.
• Reach out to donors with lists of what a youth needs, provide opportunities to donors to "adopt" a Youth for Christmas (all done anonymously), participate in "giving trees"
• Our unit [Well-Being Unit] is reaching out to older teens/young adults on our Subsidy and Chafee Housing Programs (living independently) in an attempt to ensure they receive gifts for the holidays.
Tips and ideas from the Texas ILP:
There are a number of activities happening all over the state for the holidays such as:
• Regional holiday celebrations where youth come together to celebrate with a meal or snacks, some kind of activity, and gifts.
• Rainbow Rooms provide youth with gift items from their wish list.
• Youth Leadership Councils conduct outreach in their community to places such as nursing homes to help spread the holiday cheer.
• Families and youth are provided with food items to make a holiday meal.
Arkansas is hosting the 2013 "Winter Ball" –A celebration of Arkansas' Youth Advisory Board on Wednesday, December 4th at the Governor's Mansion!
From the field: Announcements
These are resources and opportunities for professionals, youth, and families by fellow professionals and alumni of foster care.
From our partners at FosterClub, here is a great resource for the holiday season, 10 Tips for the Holidays. Also, Fosterclub's Outstanding Young Leaders (OYLs) will be announced on November 22nd, click the 2013 link to see the list of young leaders from across the nation.
Internship Opportunity: From the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. This once-in-a-lifetime internship gives those who have spent time in the foster care system a chance for their voice to be heard on Capitol Hill. Interns spend 2 months in Washington, DC interning for a Member of Congress and writing a policy recommendation report. Interns receive a weekly stipend and housing during their assignment. Information about the program and the application form are available by visiting: http://www.ccainstitute.org/fyiapply.html. The application deadline is: Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 5:00pm Eastern Time.
As you are likely aware, the Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented starting January 1, 2014. This means youth who have recently aged out of foster care (<26 yrs. old) will be eligible for Medicaid. However, it is unclear how this population will be notified that they qualify for this important health coverage, now that they are no longer connected to the child welfare system. To help spread the word, the American Academy of Pediatrics has created a web badge that organizations, agencies, and other stakeholders can post to their website. The hope is that these young adults will click on the web badge that will take them to more information where they are encouraged to sign up for Medicaid. The web badge links to www.aap.org/alumnihealth.
You can help by posting the web badge to your website, sending an email distribution list, posting it on social media platforms (i.e., Facebook), and/or printing it out and posting at sites where alumni might see it.
Monster® Find Better® Series Spokesperson Josh Shipp (who also spent time in foster care) and a team of experts — serves up advice, tips, and tools to help you move forward. Check out Monster® digital short series, featuring knowledgeable, entertaining experts who've got the career know-how to get you there. Some other topics covered so far:
The Ways to Make a Difference and a Living
Following Your Moral Compass
Three Stereotypes that Plague Millennials
Breaking the Mold on Millennial Misperceptions
Three Tips to Clean Up Your Social Identity
Create Your Personal Brand and Find Better in Your Career
NRCYD has also found a few other great websites that include youth, family, and voices from the child welfare field:
• Youth Speak out
• "Youth Voices" comes to you by Find Youth Info
• "Foster Focus Magazine"
Understanding Foster Care
The foster care system is complicated and can be confusing. This section includes descriptions of the types of care and services available within the child welfare system.
The Center for the Study on Social Policy recently released a brief on The Affordable Care Act and implications for youth aging out of foster care.
There is a lot of work being done around understanding and implementing the Extension of Federal Foster Care, here are some links to assist you in learning right along with us.
Some of our favorite sites to stay in the know with current happenings in child welfare are:
- The Administration for Children & Families
- The Children’s Bureau
- The Child Welfare Information Gateway
- Find Youth Info
- National Youth In Transition Database (NYTD): From the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Data and Technology (NRC-CWDT)
- NRCYD eUpdate
- NRCYD State-by-State pages
Permanency & Connections
At NRCYD we believe that you can never have too many meaningful connections. Here are some resources highlighting the importance of permanent connections.
get R.E.A.L. is a newly formed campaign with the goal to "improve the healthy sexual and identity development for all children and youth in the child welfare system."
Other organizations that help support opportunities or have resources to promote permanent connections are:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Camp to Belong
- Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
- Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
- Foster Care Alumni of America
- Foster Care to Success
- Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative
- The National Foster Youth Action Network (NFYAN)
- Spark Action
- Youth MOVE National
Help Us Build Youth Port!
Your ideas and suggestions will make Youth Port more useful to everyone. Please let us know what you think should be included under the current sections or new section topics that need to be added. Your contributions are much appreciated. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor: Lupe O-Tovar