Session: Not Just for Children: How Child Welfare Systems Can Better Serve Young Adults (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

99 Not Just for Children: How Child Welfare Systems Can Better Serve Young Adults

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 6:30 PM-7:30 PM
Cluster: Child Welfare
Symposium Organizer:
Marla McDaniel, PhD, Urban Institute
Angelique Day, PhD, University of Washington
For many decades, child welfare agencies only served children under age 18, but over the past several years many states have extended foster care eligibility to age 21 and beyond. As of December 2019, 29 states, 9 tribal nations, and the District of Columbia are offering extended federal foster care to young adults up to age 21. Nineteen states have been approved to provide services up to age 23. And other states, such as Missouri and Vermont offer state-funded extended foster care. Serving young adults means providing child welfare services a little differently than for young children, including focusing on the critical skills the young adults need to transition successfully. This session presents findings from three studies from the vantage point of young adults and the providers who serve them. The session considers a child welfare system in transition as it builds capacity and experience with young adults, confronts challenges, and draws lessons along the way. The first paper, Provider Perspectives on Child Welfare Case Management When You’re No Longer a Child, is a descriptive study of what makes serving young adults different than serving children and analyzes approaches to case management for transition age youth in extended foster care. The second paper, Financial Capability and Supportive Relationships in Older Youth Transitioning from Foster Care to Adulthood, presents quantitative research on the association of support with greater financial capability during that critical transition period to adulthood. The third paper, Factors that help youth achieve relational permanency – Findings from the Texas Youth Permanency Study, presents qualitative research on the relationships transition age youth have with caregivers, case workers, and other adults during their exit from care and shows how the quality of these relationships affects their entrance into adulthood.

This session features the voices and expertise of young adults with lived experience and of child welfare professionals reflecting on gaps, challenges, and solutions for improving the transition to adulthood. Supporting and preparing young adults for aging out of foster care and navigating young adulthood is the critical charge and challenge to child welfare agencies and other supportive adults in and outside of the system. Social work science has and will continue to play a crucial role in contributing to the evidence of what works and what is needed, as demonstrated in these three papers we describe in more detail below.

* noted as presenting author
Factors That Help Youth Achieve Relational Permanency: Findings from the Texas Youth Permanency Study
Barbara Ball, PHD, LPC-AT, University of Texas at Austin; Lalaine Sevillano, MSW, University of Texas at Austin; Monica Faulkner, PhD, The University of Texas at Austin; Tym Belseth, MA, University of Texas at Austin
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