|Nov 16, 2023
|Youth Wellness: General
Fostering Greatness, Partnership for the Public Good, and Homespace, together with partners in workforce development, affordable housing development, and youth support, recommend that Erie County add a new dedicated funding line of $400,000 to support young people who recently aged out of the foster care system in its 2024 budget.
In Erie County, 30 to 50 youth age out of foster care each year and are expected to navigate the challenges of independence without a safety net. This leads to devastating and avoidable outcomes for these young people, with remarkable disparities and high rates of arrest and incarceration, homelessness, unemployment, and early pregnancy and parenting. Many young people live in very unsafe housing after they leave foster care, facing instability and sudden moves, health-harming conditions, or situations of abuse and trafficking.
Currently, Erie County does not fund any programs exclusively serving youth after they age out of foster care. There are two program areas that can serve this population until age 21 or 23 only, but they also serve youth still in care. These programs and their levels of funding from 2016 through 2023 are detailed in the policy brief.
To address the severely negative outcomes foster care alumni face, new dedicated funding and programs are needed. As explored in this policy brief, the public cost of not providing these services is much higher.