Foster Culture

March 30, 2011

What happens to youth that exit care??

Filed under: Uncategorized — fosterculture @ 2:46 am

Well, it’s hard to say actually because at this time there is no way to adequately follow the youth to quantify their outcomes. Oh wait, someone just changed that. it’s called NYTD, National Youth in Transition Database. The idea is, that a youth will fill out this little form while they are still in care and they will fill it out once they’ve been out of care. A few issues I have with this:

1. If the Chafee Providers (older youth services) are not able to get youth to comply with this, they will lose funding.
2. Have you ever tried to find a youth once they are out of foster care…not that easy!
3. Youth and young adults that are homeless do not usually want people to know they are homeless. Seriously, they are embarrassed about this, so there’s probably not a lot of reason for them to be honest with NYTD.
4. If the youth is homeless (as most of the that leave foster care usually are) will they base that on the McKinney Vinto definition or the HUD definition.

There are more, but this is my first post in a long time, so I think I’ll stop while I’m ahead. I think tracking youth that leave care is a good idea, but it doesn’t seem like the NYTD is well thought out, as usual, it’s over-thunked.
I feel the need to offer a solution if I’m going to complain…I say, use facebook! Put the entire database on facebook somehow and friend each youth before they leave care.

Okay, it feels good to be back. I have lots of thoughts and topics to cover, so hopefully my next post will be sooner than later.


April 4, 2008


That’s how I have to describe this children’s services system.

I thought I hated it when I was a client of it, when I was born and raised in foster homes, residential, career and behavioral – I think now that I see the other side, as an adult – an advocate for youth – I hate it even more now.

It would be incorrect for me to generalize the system too much, I have had the pleasure of meeting case managers and therapists and program managers that are very dedicated to the cause of serving youth in foster care. However, those that turn their nose, that don’t call back, that make a fuss – they are the ones that make the system unsuccessful.

There are times that I feel the need to put my job on the line and stand up and let these ass holes know the effect they have on their coworkers, team members and most importantly, the youth.

Yeah, the kids…

Keandre Jackson.  Does anyone remember her? Shouldn’t she be the lesson?

If you where once a foster youth scorned by the system, please check back soon…I’m going to put together a letter or petition or something and send it to Jeff City or somewhere, demanding that some new policies be put in place. I’ll figure it out.

March 8, 2008

Case Managers

   If you are considering becoming a case manager for youth in foster care there are a few things you should know first…

1. If you consider your 9-5 just that, maybe this isn’t the job for you. Your kids will need your time and attention, just like if they were your own.

2. If you get annoyed easily, then this isn’t the job for you. Working in this field requires patience with your clients as abuse and/or neglect hey have suffered as skewed their reality and they perceive the world around them in a much different way.

3. If you’re in ut to change the world, just sign up for peace corp or become a legislature. This is a thankless, underpaid job and the youth that you work with aren’t necessarily going like you let alone appreciate you.

4. Know that bureaucracies and red tape are a part of this system. A person going into this field should expect that if you are trying to get something done, it’s often about who you know and what you can offer back. Anyone brand new to the feild will have a hard time getting things done, especially of any of their ideas are innovative and actually make sense.

5. Salaried means just that – if your job demands more than 40 hours of your time, then make sure you cn give more than 40 hours of your time, otherwise you could be leaving an  at-risk youth at-risk.

6. There are foster parents that are in it for the money.

7. Sometimes you need to believe the kids.

8. You’ll need to have a firm command on the school system and the way it functions in order to properly serve your clients.

These are just a few things that come to mind right away. I’m sure I’ll add more eventually.

October 15, 2007

When Foster Care Ends

An article restating the facts about Aging Out Foster Youth and what they face. It is pretty clear that the symptom of the problem is becoming clear, but still no one addresses the issue of the young age at which foster youth are emancipated.

What happens when foster care ends?

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
September 12, 2004
Special to the Post-Dispatch

Estimated printed pages: 3

“On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System” By Martha Shirk and Gary Stangler Published by Westview, 307 pages, $24.95 For most members of conventional society, foster children are out of sight, out of mind, even though there are hundreds of thousands of them across the nation. Almost without exception, foster children attain that status through no fault of their own, having been abused or neglected by their parents. Most foster children end up being moved again and again until they reach the age of majority — 18 in most states, 21 in a few. When reaching that age, foster children tend to be ill-prepared to live independently. They lack a loving support network, are usually without money, and many suffer from learning disabilities, mental illness or disorders leading to violent behavior. Martha Shirk is a journalist who has specialized in children and family issues for a couple of decades, much of it at the Post-Dispatch. Gary Stangler is former director of the Missouri Social Services Department, which exercises responsibility for foster children, and now executive director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, headquartered in Clayton. Together, Shirk and Stangler have written a searing book about one aspect of the foster-care mess — the older teenagers who age out of the system meant to protect their welfare. The bulk of the book is devoted to eight case studies, including the death by drowning of one-time foster child Reggie Kelsey at age 18 three years ago in Des Moines, Iowa. The child-welfare system had served Kelsey more or less well, given his learning disabilities and mental illness. But any semblance of effective service halted when Kelsey turned 18, despite his inability to negotiate life on his own. The other case studies are set in Lawrence, Kan.; Boston; Brooklyn; San Antonio, Texas; San Francisco; and Pembroke Pines, Fla. Those diverse locales show the national scope of the problem. Foster children end up in all sorts of situations after they age out, even when from the same family. Shirk and Stangler chronicle the story of Jermaine, Jeffrey and Lamar Williams, close-knit brothers from Brooklyn. After they were sent to a home for abused and neglected children, Lamar, the youngest, adjusted well. Jermaine and Jeffrey rebelled. Jermaine ended up dead at age 28 because of an accident related to a drug deal. Jeffrey ended up in prison for armed robbery. Lamar graduated from college, found a good-paying job, married and lives on Long Island. Casey-Jack Kitos of Lawrence, Kan., after aging out of the system, joined the military, but ended up with a medical discharge. He found a job at a service station paying just above minimum wage. He decided to save for a college education, but then backed away from that course. A municipal water department hired him, but a few weeks later fired him. He quit or lost other jobs quickly. As his chapter ends, Kitos is 21, holding a part-time job, trying college after all, but unsure whether he will graduate. Shirk and Stangler, assisted by a foreword from former President Jimmy Carter, suggest reforms in this book, which is part solid journalism, part advocacy. The only way to bring about true reform, however, is for many currently unengaged adults to open their hearts and their homes to children in need of assistance. All the money in the world devoted to social-service agencies (which, in the real world, are perpetually underfunded) cannot make much of a dent otherwise. ===================== Martha Shirk, Gary Stangler When: 7 p.m. Monday Where: Left Bank Books, 399 North Euclid Avenue How much: Free More info: 314-367-6731 or

Photo – “On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System”


Memo: Steve Weinberg is a freelance journalist in Columbia, Mo.

Edition: Five Star Lift
Section: A&E
Page: D10

Index Terms: book review

Copyright (c) 2004 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Record Number: 1000089873

OpenURL Article Bookmark (right click, and copy the link location):

What happens when foster care ends?


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