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Supporting the Most Vulnerable Youth During a Global Pandemic

 
 
 

While our country faces a very uncertain time, it’s important not to lose focus or resources that support our community’s youngest and most vulnerable members, youth who are aging out of foster care. One of the biggest concerns right now concerning those youth are the lack of jobs.    

The Tennessee Department of Children Services and other partnering organizations are working to make sure no youth falls through the cracks during this global pandemic.

Extension of Foster Care

For some, 18 is just too young to be on their own. DCS oversees the Extension of Foster Care Program, which assists young adults between 18 and 21-years-old. Program participants receive additional educational opportunities, employment opportunities and consistent and safe housing. This additional time can help youth prepare for their future with educational and employment training, housing, and allows them to build connections with caring adults and supportive community members and loved ones. The Extension of Foster Care Program is a choice, not a requirement. A young adult can decide to leave foster care when they turn 18. They can also change their mind and return for the extension program before they turn 21. The Extension Foster Care Program is only for those who have aged out of the foster care system. Across the state there’s approximately 350 youth enrolled in the Extension Foster Care program. Visit DCS’s website for more information or to enroll.    

Youth Villages

Youth Villages provides help for children and young people across the country and they’re continuing their work during this global pandemic. There is a continued need for foster families to provide homes for the children in state custody. In response to new CDC guidelines, the Youth Villages’ Foster Care team members are holding virtual and in-person training sessions with prospective foster parents. Youth Villages’ Scholars Program is helping youth who are aging out of foster care apply for colleges. The Life Set Program helps youth in foster care who are in college request to stay on campus or find other housing. To learn more or inquire about becoming a foster parent visit Youth Village’s website.  

Additional Resources:

Some Kids Are Not Safer at Home: Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Regional Intervention Program Helps Families Work Through Challenging Behavior  

Home Activities to Help Avoid Family Boredom While Practicing Social Distancing and Self Isolation