Nearly half of the District foster care population is composed of teens and young adults ages 14 to 21. Everyone serving these young people has two critical obligations to them:
- Continue to seek permanence through reunification with the birth family, legal guardianship (often with relatives) or adoption. At the very least, ensure every youth in care has a relationship with a caring adult committed to providing life-long guidance and support.
- Prepare these young people for adulthood with the same quality of nurturing, guidance, support and opportunities that good parents provide for their own children.
Outcome Targets for District Youth in Care
- Increase high school graduates
- Increase college graduates
- Increase youth who complete vocational training and/or receive industry certification
- Increase youth age 20 who are employed or receiving post-secondary education
- Decrease youth who age out of foster care
- Increase engagement of youth in after-care services
- Increase youth with stable housing upon exit
A Resource for Partnership and Support
CFSA’s Office of Youth Empowerment (OYE) plays a leadership role in achieving positive outcomes for older youth in care. OYE coordinates with and supports social workers, resource parents, and others helping older youth in care, ages 14 to 20, prepare for life on their own. OYE also partners with other public agencies, community organizations, and businesses to provide a robust array of resources and opportunities for older youth in care to build skills and gain experience.
OYE has two primary functions:
Case Management: CFSA and private‐provider social workers can transfer cases to OYE for case management when youth reach age 15, if the youth is residing in congregate care or a CFSA foster home. While pursuing permanency options, social workers simultaneously prepare youth for a successful transition to young adulthood in the community. OYE social workers have the responsibility to connect each youth with life-long connections, programs, services and experiences that will prepare him/her for independence. Social workers engage with youth to facilitate a planned, smooth and safe transition out of care. Private agencies managing cases for older youth have the same responsibilities — and should routinely draw on OYE programs and services for the youth they serve.
- College and Career Preparation Services: Youth attending post‐secondary institutions and their caregivers get support from specialists who assist in the college and career preparation process. OYE has two dedicated teams that provide college and career preparation to all youth beginning in the 9th grade. These units support high school graduation and exposure to various career paths. For youth interested in pursuing a vocational trade, OYE partners with public and private job-training programs and employers to offer youth opportunities for work experience, vocational training, certification and sustainable employment.
Contact: OYE Social Work Program Manager Tanya Trice, [email protected], (202) 727‐7461.
CFSA's Office of Youth Empowerment (OYE), which is located at 3350 9th Street NE, Washington, DC, 20017, offers a host of services and growth experiences for District teens and young adults in foster care.