Many JLSD leaders recently received valuable information on Transitional Age Youth (TAY) from two separate, yet interrelated, community needs assessment meetings. More than 30 local providers of TAY services attended the League’s Community Partners Breakfast held January 23.
Each organization described their TAY program as providing assistance with basic living skills to assist the vulnerable population of Transitional Age Youth, ages 13-27. All efforts were in conjunction with AB12, a relatively new legislation, which provides assistance to Transitional Age Youth until age 21 as opposed to the typical age of 18. Many identified areas of opportunity within those ages 16-18 consisted of increasing self sufficiency via: improving independent living and social skills, problem solving, financial management, education and professional skills, behavioral health resources, employment, transportation, and legal assistance. Similar gaps were found in discussing the 18-21 age group, emphasizing early transition before the 21st birthday when many benefits expire. Differences in chronological vs. emotional age in maturity levels in meeting this young adult population’s needs were addressed. Attendees were very receptive to JLSD’s commitment to serving transition age foster youth and many connections were made!
A second event at Promises2Kids (P2K) provided insight to available resources, gaps in services, and areas of opportunity in these areas. Of the 26 attendees, (eight college & eighteen high school students), 10 work part-time, 19 attend school full-time, with an average grade point of 3.22. Many volunteer in the community and seek professional degrees or graduate degrees. Many stated financial, health, emotional support, time constraints, and lack of mentors as current stressors in their lives with this fear continuing after transitioning. Earlier and easier access to services and collaboration via one central repository was listed as a need in improving the overall transition process. Many students credited their support system (CASAs, P2K, counselors, ROTC, and Guardian Scholars) while others desired a stronger connection with these types of services. With collaboration of community services central to the discussion, students also shared they are successful members of the community despite the stigma often associated with being labeled foster age youth. “We don’t need pity and merely want to be accepted for what we can offer society as young professionals if given the proper resources”.
Interested in learning more about the Junior League’s work with transition age foster youth? Consider joining the Community Council next year! Contact the Community Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.