LGBTQ+ & Two-Spirit youth
Transition (aging out)

Policy Corner: Understanding Family First Act's Impact on LGBTQIA2S+ Older Youth in Foster Care

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Queer youth in foster care are at an increased risk of aging out of foster care1. On average, one in four youth who age out of foster care will become homeless within four years2. LGBTQIA2S+ youth are at an increased risk of experiencing homelessness3

 

By supporting services to youth transitioning out of foster care, FFA helps ensure LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care are given the services and resources they need to successfully transition into adulthood

 

What is the Family First Act (FFA)?

  • Passed in 2018, FFA included historic reforms that focus on keeping children safely with their families, when possible
  • FFA funded the following four areas
    • Supports prevention services
    • Provides support for kinship (relative) caregivers
    • Establishes requirements for placement in residential treatment programs and improves quality and oversight services
    • Improves services to older youth
 

How does FFA help LGBTQIA2S+ Youth Aging Out of Foster Care?4

  • Allows states to offer services to youth who have aged out of foster care (up to age 23)
  • Services for transitioning to adulthood begin at age 14 (previously they began at 16)
  • States must provide youth who exit care as adults with documentation that proves the youth was in foster care. This helps a youth access certain programs and services to assist them
  • States can now provide young adults education and training vouchers until age 26 (previously age 23)
 

What can you do?

  • Caseworkers + advocates + professionals: Help older LGBTQIA2S+ youth learn what services are available for youth aging out of foster care through FFA. Learn more about this in Part 4 of this series, coming soon!
  • Kinship Caregivers + foster/resource families: Help older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in your care access and utilize services made available to them through FFA. 
  • Everyone: Contact your representatives and senators and tell them how important these services are for LGBTQIA2S+ youth in care! Encourage them to put more funding towards making sure  LGBTQIA2S+ youth in care receive the resources they need. 
    • You can use the resource here to find your representatives and senators
    • For tips on writing your representative(s) or senator(s), see the resource here

For more information on how to support older LGBTQIA2S+ youth in foster care, visit the other parts of this series!


Learn more about the Family First Act and the importance of services to older youth:

Implementation:

What Lived Experience Leaders Say:


Sources:

1LGBTQ in Child Welfare: A Systematic Review of Literature

2Housing and Homelessness

3LGBTQ in Child Welfare: A Systematic Review of Literature

4Family First Act Bill Text

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