Every year approximately 150 young adults emancipate, or “age out” of foster care in Santa Clara County. This means having to find a place to live, a job, as well as the means to support themselves and pay for education, often with little or no support from family.
Research and studies have shown that most individuals from intact families receive emotional support for a life time, and some level of financial support until their mid-twenties. Upon aging out, many foster youth find themselves with neither, and often struggle just to “get by”. Santa Clara County is committed to improving the lives and outcomes of youth who have been cared for by the child welfare system.
Santa Clara County’s California Connected by 25 (CC25) Initiative strives to improve outcomes for foster youth who have emancipated from the foster care system, ages 18-25. Santa Clara County is focusing on developing, building, and sustaining partnerships in the community in the three primary areas that have the greatest impact on a young person’s successful transition into adulthood: housing, education, and employment.
CC25 is a series of services to support current and former foster care youth with positive development and successful transition to adulthood. It is part of Annie E. Casey’s “Family to Family” Initiative and the national Connected by 25 Initiative established by the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG) which includes:
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Walter S. Johnson Foundation
- Stuart Foundation
- William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
- Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation
Participating counties received grant money to implement local strategies and programs. These counties are helping develop the framework for a statewide youth transitions strategy. The goal is that this framework can be utilized in the future by other counties interested in expanding services to foster youth transitioning out of care.
CC25I has several goals, including to:
- help youth in foster care connect by age 25 to the opportunities, experiences, and support systems that will enable them to succeed throughout adulthood
- provide foster care youth with services that will give them better outcomes than they have statistically and historically had after leaving care
- better prepare foster care youth for independent living
In order to meet the needs of current and former foster youth, the initiative has several main areas of focus:
- Data systems and project management
- Employment and training
- K through 12 and post-secondary education
- Independent Living Program (ILP)
- Financial literacy
- Personal and social asset development.
Youth in foster care have been brought into “the system” by child welfare for their own protection and safety due to abuse and neglect. It is our goal to help these young people to have better experiences while in care and to have better outcomes as they become adults as they have found themselves in tough situations through no fault of their own.