July 15, 2021
Supporting older youth for a brighter future: a message from our CEO
SEATTLE, Washington – One of the priority focus areas of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children is fostering the futures of older youth. Data show that older youth in foster care face long odds: they are less likely to reach a permanent home and may languish in the foster care system for years before aging out, which happens to nearly 20,000 young people every year.
These youth are expected to make it on their own as independent adults, but may lack the resources to do so. For older youth in foster care, COVID-19 turned things upside down—support networks disrupted, services suspended and futures delayed. Many youth lost jobs, lost housing, faced food insecurity and struggled to get their health care needs met. The last year has underscored the critical importance of having a caring adult by every young person’s side as they navigate the transition to adulthood. In fact, several youth formerly in foster care recently shared their stories regarding the impact a CASA volunteer had on their path to success; I hope you’ll view the video and hear their inspiring stories.
National CASA/GAL is continuing to develop our Fostering Futures initiative, which will allow us to better serve older youth in foster care. We know that the support of a CASA/GAL volunteer is critical, especially as youth navigate independence after aging out of foster care. Fostering Futures is a multi-year initiative to strengthen our work with the older youth we already serve, expand our services to more youth preparing to age out of foster care, and ensure that foster care alumni have the support they need to thrive as adults. Thank you for working with us and supporting us as we seek to improve outcomes for all children and youth.
Tara Lisa Perry
CEO, National CASA/GAL Association for Children