State Agencies Join Together To Better Support Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

by Dave on August 4, 2010

State Agencies Join Together To Better Support Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

Six members of Governor Jack Markell’s Cabinet came together this morning at the annual Youth Advisory Council Conference to sign an agreement that outlines each agency’s role in providing necessary support and services to youth who age out of the Delaware foster care system.

“The challenges that face our state do not fit neatly within a single agency. The same goes for the challenges that face our youth,” said Markell. “To address these problems in the most effective and efficient manner, we must work collaboratively across agencies. That is exactly what our team has been doing.”

Shortly after Governor Markell took office, he directed Cabinet members to form a joint committee develop coordinated solutions for youth aging out of foster care. Today’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) clarifies the responsibilities of each agency and will serve as the basis for ongoing collaboration and coordination of services, while ensuring funding is used appropriately and efficiently.

The MOU was signed at Delaware State University by Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families; Rita Landgraf, Secretary of Health and Social Services; Dr. Lillian Lowery, Secretary of Education; John McMahon, Secretary of Labor; Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority and Carl Danberg, Commissioner for the Department of Correction.

“Our children are our future, our responsibility,” said Rapposelli. “We don’t take that responsibility lightly. Our youth need to know we care, we want them to thrive and we want them to feel confident they have the tools they need to be successful adults.”

Youth who age out of foster care face many challenges in achieving self-sufficiency. Many experience physical or mental health issues, which will have a life-long impact on their ability to lead productive and stable lives. It remains vitally important that the state ensures services are effectively coordinated among agencies and funding is used as efficiently as possible.

The federal government, through the enactment of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act, directs that states should provide financial, housing, medical, employment, training, and other appropriate supports to young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 exiting foster care to increase their opportunities to successfully transition to adulthood.

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