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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 8, 2020 02:32 PM
From: Representative Karen Boback
To: All House members
Subject: Helping Older Foster Youth Find Permanency
One of the most important elements for a successful transition from youth to adulthood is having the support of family and other caring adults in a young adult’s life. Yet, each year, approximately half of all foster youth “age out” of the system without ever having found permanency with a family, whether through adoption, permanent legal custodianship, or reunification with the youth’s family of origin. Youths leaving the child welfare system without having adults in their lives who can help support and guide them during this critical transition time face soberingly high incidences of outcomes such as incarceration and homelessness.

It is imperative that we do all we can to help our foster youth find permanency with a family before reaching adulthood and, if that doesn’t happen, to ensure that they at least have positive family and community connections. Our law already requires that caseworkers conduct what’s called “family finding” to identify family members and kin who may be willing to assume a primary caretaker or other supportive role. Our law also requires that foster youth be provided with counseling and other services to encourage and support permanency goals. My legislation will build on these strengths in our existing law to make expectations clearer, and to ensure that the requirements we have in place are fully and effectively implemented.

It’s up to us to give our foster youth every possible opportunity to find a permanent family to support and guide them – whatever form that family may take. I am committed to building on the good things we’ve started here in Pennsylvania, and I invite you to join me.