Homeless in Foster Care: What Would Really Keep Foster Youth from Sleeping in Offices

Today on The Imprint Weekly Podcast we feature a great conversation that Fostering Media Connections hosted last month called “Homeless in Foster Care: What Would Really Keep Foster Youth from Sleeping in Offices.”

As the title suggests, the motivation for this discussion was the reality that youth living in foster care are sleeping in offices, sometimes in hotels or even in rare cases cars, with systems struggling to find more appropriate shelter for them…and all of these kids had been removed from their home at one point or another due to safety concerns, which makes leaving them in such an unstable position is truly failure in its most clear form. 

This has gotten attention of late because several states saw the number of youth in this situation increase during the last year or so, likely in part to the pandemic and its impact on the child welfare workforce and more generally on foster care capacity. 

But this is not by any means a new problem in child welfare. This conversation was meant to discuss not the emergency solutions for it, but rather the upstream issues with how child welfare systems proceed that end up leaving youth open to these circumstances.

Guest Interview Details

This conversation includes  Molly Tierney of Accenture, who worked in child welfare leadership in Illinois and in Baltimore; BJ Walker, former director of the state child welfare systems in Georgia and Illinois, and Gary Ivory, the President of Youth Advocate Programs, which for decades has been focused on serving as a community alternative to things incarceration and foster care.

What We’re Doing, and What We Aren’t, About Youth and Family Homelessness

On this week’s podcast, we discuss Biden’s new nominee to lead child welfare and family support policies at the Department of Health and Human Services; the tragic murder of a social worker in Illinois; and it’s decision time for the Supreme Court on the Brackeen v. Haaland case that could decide the fate of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Guest Interview Details

Ruth White of the National Center for Housing and Child Welfare joins us to talk about the first two full years of Foster Youth to Independence, a housing voucher program designed by current and former foster youth that aims to prevent housing instability for those aging out. We also talk about her thoughts on “Housing First” as a strategy, an untapped resource for youth homelessness prevention, and her idea for a “flat rent” approach to help develop savings for former foster youth.

Reading Room

Supreme Court Set to Decide Whether to Take Up Indian Child Welfare Case https://bit.ly/3zDm8Xi Coverage of the Indian Child Welfare Act by The Imprint https://imprintnews.org/topic/icwa January Contreras Nominated for Top Child Welfare Position https://bit.ly/334l3vG DCFS Worker was Stabbed to Death While Responding to Report of Children in Danger in Thayer https://bit.ly/3q5szPU Texas v. Haaland Supreme Court Documents https://bit.ly/32ZCPjX Ben Carson Unveils Major Stable Housing Initiative for Former Foster Youth https://bit.ly/3odHqUS

Ending Homelessness for Youth Leaving Foster Care

2020 was the first full year for the Foster Youth to Independence initiative (FYI), which helps secure stable housing and self-sufficiency services for young adults aging out of foster care. 

This week’s podcast was recorded live on Zoom in early December, and features a discussion about FYI’s first year and what comes next as the initiative recently became enshrined into law.

Guest Interview Details

We’re joined for the conversation about Foster Youth to Independence by Ruth White and Jamole Callahan, two chief architects of the initiative, and Love Williams, an early participant in the initiative.