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Foster kids in New York need better support once they age out, report finds

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

Foster children in New York and across the nation need better transition support once they age out, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Fostering Youth Transition report found 74% of children in New York foster care are aging out, rather than finding a permanent home, a 22% increase from the national average of 52%.

Todd Lloyd, senior policy associate for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said a family’s economic status is often related to child neglect.

“Issues of neglect are often related to economic security,” Lloyd pointed out. “And so, the hope is that child-welfare agencies could work with families to help them remediate those issues of economic challenge and provide the kind of concrete supports that they need to address those concerns.”

Given neglect is the most frequent reason kids enter foster care in New York and the nation, the report is looking for state and federal leaders to closely examine the root causes of poverty in such cases. The report recommended bolstering families and communities to reduce the need for removing a child.

The report also showed federally-funded transition programs to help youths transition out of foster care go underutilized. Of the more than 444,000 kids in foster care, 77% did not receive transition services once they aged out. The has declined slightly since 2016.

Lloyd described what else can be done to help children in and beyond foster care.

“State systems must do more to ensure young people in their custody receive the resources, relationships and opportunities that foster success as they navigate the journey to adulthood,” Lloyd urged. “And greater investment is needed for essential services, educational assistance, economic stability, upon leaving foster care.”

In New York, 60% of foster kids received some kind of transition service such as room-and-board assistance, mentoring and educational financial assistance. It comes as usage for most of the programs plummeted from 96% in 2016 to between 8% and 61% in 2018.

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