This month, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and Creating Real and Actionable Solutions (CARES), a CSSP initiative funded by the Conrad Hilton Foundation, submitted written testimony that addresses strategies to better support youth aging out of foster care to the Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Work and Welfare. Young people play an important role in shaping our society and contributing to their families, their communities, and the broader economy. Their ability to fulfill their hopes and aspirations will ultimately determine our collective future. As one youth who was interviewed as part of the CARES community analysis shared:
“I can be something great, no matter what my background [is], no matter what foster care was, because at the end of the day, it’s not foster care that defines me.”
Young people deserve opportunities that promote their health and well-being, maximize their power and promise, and support their ability to achieve their goals and dreams. Investments in community-based supports are indispensable to fulfilling this vision. Upstream investments in programs like Title IV-B of the Social Security Act (Title IV-B) provide systems and communities the opportunity and ability to be more responsive to and supportive of youth and their expressed needs while also preventing costly and harmful deeper-end system involvement.