Beyond the Foster Care System: The Future for Teens

Synopsis

Each year tens of thousands of teenagers are released from the foster care system in the United States without high school degrees, homes, or strong family relationships. Two to four years after discharge, half of these young people still do not have either a high school diploma or equivalency degree, and fewer than ten percent enter college. Nearly a third end up on public assistance within fifteen months, and eventually more than a third will be arrested or convicted of a crime.
In this richly detailed and often surprising exploration of the foster care system, Betsy Krebs and Paul Pitcoff argue that the existing foster care system sets teens up to fail by inadequately preparing them for adult life. They contend that the primary goal of foster care for teenagers should be preparation for a fully productive adult life, and that current policies and practice are misguided.
The authors draw on their fifteen years of experience working with teens and the foster care system to introduce new ways to empower teens to be responsible for themselves and to identify and develop their potential. They also explore what sorts of resources-legal, financial, and human-will need to come from inside and outside the system to ensure that more teens reach successful independence. Ultimately, Krebs and Pitcoff argue that change must include the participation of caring communities of volunteers who want to see disadvantaged youth succeed, as well as the use of creative approaches such as the Socratic Method to help teens to take control of their lives.
Bringing together a series of inspiring, real-life accounts, Beyond the Foster Care System introduces readers to a number of dynamic young people who have participated in the Youth Advocacy Center's programs. Their stories demonstrate that alternatives to the standard way of providing foster care are not only imaginable, but possible. With the practical improvements Krebs and Pitcoff outline, teens can learn the skills of effective self-advocacy, become better prepared for the transition to independence, and avoid becoming the statistics that foster care has so often produced in the past.

Additional information

Contributors:
Includes content by:
  • Teresa
  • Carlos
  • Jenny
  • Xaranda
  • Leonard
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2006