Aging Out

The Challenge

This project is funded by generous grants from the Robin Hood Foundation and the Dorot Foundation.

Adolescents who are preparing to age out of the foster care system face countless obstacles to success. They are all too frequently warehoused in foster care without receiving targeted services to help them make the crucial transition to independent adult lives. Without strong educational supports, vocational training, adult mentors, and proper permanency planning, they risk discharge to unstable living arrangements and an uncertain future of homelessness, economic instability or even incarceration.

The shortage of tailored, effective services for adolescents in foster care constitutes a profound crisis. These vulnerable young adults need access to community-based support in order to succeed as independent adults and break the cycle of poverty.

LFCs Response

The ACT Project provides legal and social work services to young people aging out of foster care, directing specialized attention, advocacy and resources to this critically underserved population. Through the ACT Project, our clients achieve better educational outcomes, acquire job training, receive therapy and appropriate medical services, and get help developing meaningful connections to caring adults who can support them through their transition to adulthood and beyond. Providing sustained and intensive advocacy for these young adults can make a dramatic positive difference in their lives, helping them enter the community as successful, independent adults.

The ACT Project is comprised of two attorneys (one Project Director and one Housing Advocate); three Master's-level, state-certified social workers, one of whom is the project’s Expectant and Parenting Youth Specialist; and two Youth Advocates (young adults with lived experience in foster care). The ACT Project works seamlessly with LFC’s other special projects, which focus on education, mental health, LGBTQ issues, and immigration, and collaborates with outside providers (including the Legal Aid Society, The Door and Advocates for Children).

Additional ACT Project initiatives include: the Young Leaders Transition Group, which holds monthly meetings for clients and former clients ages 18 to 25 using a curriculum crafted to meet the educational and social support needs identified by the clients themselves. In addition, the Youth Advisory Board holds monthly meetings for current and former foster care youth to provide them with up-to-the-minute information about job opportunities, housing, and educational services. The ACT Project also runs LFC’s Threads to Impress Closet, collecting and disseminating clothing appropriate for job and school interviews, work, and other important events. The ACT Project’s Expectant and Parenting Youth Specialist manages LFC’s Baby Boutique and Young Mother’s Closet, which provide maternity and baby clothing as well as other baby supplies and books.