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Foster Care Reform: Family First Act

Will The Family First Act Make Foster Care Reform a Reality?

While federal funding is currently available to support foster care, it’s not being effectively used to help foster youth transition to successful adulthood living.  

Children in the current foster care system:

  • lack stability and continuity –  the average number of moves for a child in foster care is 10
  • lack adequate educational or vocational skills when they leave the foster care system – only 55 percent of 19-year-olds had a high school diploma or GED certificate according to the the National Youth in Transition Database
  • (36%) end up homeless within 18 months of leaving the foster care system
  • 70%  of all California State Prison inmates are former foster youth.
  • 40% are on public assistance within 2-4 years of emancipation

In California 65,000 children and youth are in the foster care system (far more than any other single state) and each year over 4,000 of these young Americans will no longer be eligible for foster care.  Most youth at 18 years old will be on their own without supportive adult help to build the educational, emotional, or financial skills needed for successful independent living.

This June, the House of Representatives passed the The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 (or Family First Act) which includes funding changes that promise to improve the foster care system and extend funding for young adults after they are no longer eligible for the foster care system.  

Unless or until Acts such as this are fully approved and funded, former foster care youth must rely  heavily upon financially-strapped non-profit agencies like WE LIFT LA for affordable housing, meaningful relationships, and the cultivation of life skills.  

 WE LIFT LA and other non-profit organizations give hope to the over 1,400 foster youth aging out of the system each year in Los Angeles County. Find out about the different ways you can help former foster youth here.

[read more about how the Family First Act affects former foster youth]