Youth Aging out of Foster Care Project
Jun 18, 2006
An estimated 9.2 million to 15.8 million children are considered “at-risk” in this country encompassing all ages from 13 to 19 years old. These youth are at-risk because they are at a crossroad: one leads to successful transition to adulthood, the other to dependency and negative long-term consequences. Youth typically considered or identified as at-risk are more likely to become pregnant, use drugs and/or alcohol, drop out of school, be unemployed, engage in violence and face an increased likelihood of a host of mental health problems, which in turn places them at high risk for entering the juvenile and criminal justice system.
Many of these youth are in foster care and will eventually be aging out of the system incapable of providing adequate care for themselves. These youth lack focus, education, work experience and work ethics. In conjunction with current funding opportunities under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) the project would take those youth at age 16 and provide intensive core curriculum that will provide them with the tools necessary to become self sufficient. In order for this project/ program to be effective several partnerships with community agencies, court system, and private/public sector employers will need to be established.
Understanding that the youth of today are the connecting cornerstones to an ever evolving workforce, this program will aide in transforming the futures of many of these youth. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board (C-MWDB) youth program, governed by rules and regulations of WIA has proven to be successful in assisting identified at-risk drop outs in obtaining their GED, tech/ trade skill and subsequent employment. Providing these services has changed the perspective of many youth and their futures.
The mission of the of the C-MWDB is dedication to ensuring that the C-MWDB system is effectively meeting the current and future needs of local employers and job seekers (www.charlotteworks.org). This project will provide employers with employees that are able to meet the need at an acceptable level.
In keeping with the mission of the WDBs’ youth program the scope of services or statement of work will be the project’s road map in providing these services.
Goals and Objectives
The program will seek to provide youth services (academic learning, work experience, summer employment, life skills training opportunities and other related services and supportive services) to youth aging out of foster care. The target population will be individuals who are age 16 through 19; (1) deficient in basic literacy skills; (2) school dropout; (3) foster child; (4) pregnant or parenting; (5) offender; (6) an individual who requires additional assistance to complete an educational program, or to secure and hold employment. The program design will be very much like an after school enrichment program. Enrollees will focus on employment preparation, career development, investments and community involvement.
The recruitment and selection of applicants for participation will be done in such a way as to ensure that a total of 35 eligible individuals are enrolled. Once enrolled the program will provide appropriate services and activities which will ensure that the following performance standards are achieved; secondary school diploma, placement and retention in post secondary education, advanced training, qualified apprenticeships, unsubsidized employment and retention in unsubsidized employment six months after completion.
Termination and Follow-up
Appropriate termination documentation on all participants , who exit the program, will provided to the WDB and will also be provided a minimum of one (1) year follow up after exit. The hosting agency will provide assistance as requested to WDB and all independent agencies selected to conduct participant and employer customer satisfaction surveys.
Measuring the success of a program focused on at-risk youth is not easy, primarily because many of these youth are driven by emotions, internal and external. In the United States, there is a continuing debate about how success should be measured. Many parameters can be used to evaluate program effectiveness. Since this program is based on how and if the youth applies the skills that were taught, if the youth enters post-secondary education and whether the youth is gainfully employed these parameters