Juvenile Law Center

Pennsylvania Fostering Connections to Success: Resources for Youth

"Staying in Care Past Age 18," Juvenile Law Center


Child Advocacy Listserv: Juvenile Law Center operates a free listserv for lawyers who represent children in dependency matters in Pennsylvania. To be added to this listserv, please fill out this form and email it to [email protected].

Resumption of Jurisdiction Listserv: Juvenile Law Center operates this free listserv for child welfare professionals, lawyers, paralegals, and advocates to discuss how to implement the Resumption of Jurisdiction Provision of Act 91 in Pennsylvania. To be added to this listserv, please fill out this form.

  • A fact sheet for youth on what to do to stay in care past age 18, the benefits of staying in care, and who to talk to about staying in care. 

"Re-Entering Foster Care After Age 18," Juvenile Law Center

  • A fact sheet for youth on eligibility for re-entering care, the benefits of re-entering care, and who to talk to about re-entry. 

"Know Your Rights: A Guide for Youth in Substitute Care," Juvenile Law Center

  • Provides Pennsylvania youth and those who work on their behalf with information on youths' legal rights in the substitute care system and how they can best advocate for themselves.

Youth-Developed Discharge Hearing Form

  • Youth Fostering Change, Juvenile Law Center's youth engagement group comprised of youth who have been involved in the child welfare system, created this form to present to a judge before a youth age 18 or older is discharged from caer. The youth and the caseworker should fill out the form prior to the hearing to highlight the youth's plans after leaving care and concerns about discharge. This court form ensures that a youth exiting care has a meaningful and realistic plan for housing, education, employment, and health care. The form is not intended as a substitute for a more comprehensive transition plan, but instead as a tool for the youth to flag important issues or concerns prior to leaving care.

Youth Fostering Change Discharge Planning Video

  • Youth Fostering Change produced this video in 2011 describing why and how they developed the Discharge Hearing Form (listed above).

Youth Fostering Change "Life After Foster Care" Video

  • In 2009-2010, Youth Fostering Change chose to focus on the issue of aging out of care. The group produced "Life After Foster Care: Our Stories," a short film featuring interviews with youth about aging out of the system. They distributed copies of their video to key legislators and policymakers around Pennsylvania.

"Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care," Children's Bureau et al. 

  • Making decisions about your health and psychotropic medications involves several steps. This guide presents valuable information for youth in foster care related to each step, and the guide's checklists and worksheets can help you organize your thoughts. 
Making decisions about your health and psychotropic medications involves 
several steps, shown in the arrows below. This guide presents valuable 
information for youth in foster care related to each step. Depending on your 
situation, selected sections or the entire guide may be useful to you. The 
guide’s checklists and worksheets can help you organize your thoughts

"Negotiating the Curves Toward Employment: A Guide About Youth Involved in the Foster Care System," National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability

  • This guide builds upon the NCWD/Youth organizing framework, Guideposts for Success, which details what research says all youth, including youth with disabilities, need to successfully transition to adulthood. This publication applies the Guideposts to meeting the needs of youth in foster care with and without disabilities. The Guide also provides facts and statistics about youth involved in the foster care system; gives examples of states and communities that are changing policy and practices; identifies areas requiring further attention by policy makers and providers of services; and identifies resources and tools to assist cross-system collaborative efforts.

"Federal Laws That Increase Educational Opportunities for Older Youth in Out-of-Home Care," American Bar Association Legal Center for Foster Care and Education

  • This brief provides information on three significant federal laws—the Fostering Connections Act, the College Cost Reducation Act, and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act—that impact educational opportunities for older youth in the foster care system. 

"It's My Life: Employment," Casey Family Programs

  • This handbook is intended for child welfare professionals and others responsible for helping young people prepare for transition to adulthood and the workplace. It provides benchmarks for career exploration and techniques for job seeking. It breaks out the benchmarks by age group and lets young people describe their successes in their own words. It also provides a wealth of links to online tools and assessments and many suggestions for taking advantage of community resources.

"It's My Life: Housing," Casey Family Programs

  • This book provides useful information for child welfare professionals and others who work with youth transitioning to adulthood and independent living. It provides an abundance of Web links to online resources, practical strategies to help young people find, get, and keep housing, and developmentally appropriate strategies for adolescents to young adults. The book provides several recommendations and corresponding strategies to help young people get and keep safe, affordable housing: Start early to build a strong foundation of life skills education and practice; Explore housing options and finances with young people; Make and implement a housing plan that includes contingencies, and follow up; and Develop housing connections in your community to benefit young people transitioning from care.

"It's My Life: Postsecondary Education and Training," Casey Family Programs

  • A resource guide for child welfare professionals to help young people from foster care prepare academically, financially, and emotionally for postsecondary education and training success.

New Money Resources: How to Budget and Save for the Future

  • The YouthSuccessNYC website has a new section on money, which features true stories to inspire teens leaving care, and helpful articles like “How to Create a Budget,” Why Open a Bank Account?,” and “Credit Cards: Buy Now, Pain Later,” as well as information on how to enroll in Youth Financial Empowerment, a free program to help teens start saving.

Keep in Touch: Online Tool for Transitioning Youth

  • Keep in Touch brings the true stories of three formerly homeless young people to participants in your transitional or independent living program. Each young person gives practical tips about how to stay connected, get support and live a successful adult life. Youth new to your transitional or independent living program will get an idea of what to expect. Youth leaving or graduating from your program will be encouraged to stay in touch and ask for help when they need it.


  • Foster Club is an online community providing youth a safe place to obtain facts about foster care, read inspirational stories, and find support from their peers. Foster Club produces a website, FYI3.com, designed specifically for older youth in foster care, which inspires young people to become involved in their case plans, informs them about their rights in foster care, and prepares them for independence after they age out of the system. In addition to providing online communities, Foster Club coordinates conferences for teens in care, runs the Foster Club All Stars youth leadership program, develops youth-friendly publications, and infuses youth voices into the child welfare system.

Independent Living PA

  • The Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is part of the Independent living project sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh: School of Social Work. YAB is comprised of current and former substitute care youth ages 16-21. Youth leaders on the YAB educate, advocate, and form partnerships to create positive change in the substitute care system. The website provides information for youth in and aging out of foster care.
  • This blog, written by a former foster youth who aged out of care at age 18, provides perspective, advice, and answers for foster youth on transitioning out of care. 

Represent! The Voice of Youth in Foster Care

  • Represent! gives inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff useful insights into teen concerns.

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