Toolkit Helps Youth Craft Transition Plans for Exiting Foster Care

A young person shakes hands with a potential employer.

Did you know that federal law requires youth exiting foster care to have a transition plan to help them prepare for adulthood? The quality of individual plans often vary, however, as young people and their support networks face limited time and resources to help navigate the transition to independence.

In order to encourage young people to take charge of crafting their transition plans, the U.S. Department of Education has published the Foster Care Transition Toolkit (PDF, 1.1MB). The guide uses youth-friendly language for its younger readers, but is also a good resource for caring adults. The online toolkit was created in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Labor, along with youth and practitioners in the child welfare system.

Here are some highlights from the guide:

  • Transition Planning: Take Charge of Your Future. In this first section, youth can learn at what age their foster care benefits end based on their state of residence. They can also discover the top 10 areas to address in their plan, including education, health, and housing, as well as where to find resources if they have a disability.
  • Obtaining Essential Documents. This section includes a handy table that shows youth the types of documents they might need as adults (e.g., birth certificate, proof of address, and adoption record) and where they can go to get a copy. There’s also guidance for selecting an emergency point of contact.
  • Taking Care of Your Physical and Mental Health. The guide includes basic information about accessing health insurance through options like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, and refers readers to a Child Welfare Information Gateway issue brief with more information. Youth can also learn about their right to designate a personal representative to make health care decisions on their behalf, when necessary, and how to go about selecting someone to take on that role.

Read the complete toolkit.

More on Foster Youth

Explore Health Care Options for Youth Currently or Formerly in Care

What are the Experiences and Needs of Homeless Youth with a History of Foster Care?

What is Being Done to Prevent Youth in Foster Care From Running Away?

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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