Who are transition age foster youth? Transition age foster youth are young people between the ages of 16 and 23 who are transitioning out of the foster care system. The public perception of these young adults is irrevocably damaged and different than other young people. But in truth, they are just like other young adults.

They need financial assistance, life skills, housing, education, and employment. Their journey to adulthood may be a steeper climb than most as they do not have parents to help them along the way. They need caring professionals, supportive adults, and positive role models to guide and equip them with the tools needed to take advantage of opportunities that will help them thrive.

“I hate being labeled as the “foster kid.” While I knew statistically that I was starting life at a disadvantage compared to my peers, people would literally tell me that I would not amount to anything because I was in foster care. I want them to know that I graduated high school a year early, got my Bachelor’s in Psychics and currently am high school math teacher.”

– A former foster youth

We need to reframe the public’s perception of foster youth. We need to let people know that youth transitioning from the foster care system face the same challenges and have the same needs as all young adults. Everyone should have the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their start in life. Without a family to lean on, transition-age youth need the help of a caring community to get plugged in to the services and supports that will power their growth and success.

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Dr. Elizabeth Wynter is the Executive Director for the Selfless Love Foundation, whose mission is to enrich and transform the lives of current and former foster youth through raising awareness, strategic partnerships, and advocacy.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Wynter has worked on behalf of abused, neglected, and abandoned children, providing leadership for local, state, and national efforts to improve the child welfare system. Dr. Wynter’s expertise in strategic planning and systems building have supported her transformative work in the areas of independent living and adoptions.
Selfless Love Foundation’s youth voice initiative entitled One Voice IMPAACT provides current and former foster youth opportunities to develop skills for leadership and life, advocate for changes to policy and join a network of youth leaders across the state of Florida.

References: O’Neil, M, & Pineau, M. (2020). Advancing Wellbeing and Expanding Opportunities: Reframing Transition Age Foster Youth. A Frameworks Strategic Brief. file:///C:/Users/eliza/Downloads/FRAJ8342-Transition-Age-Youth-Strategic-Brief200817-WEB%20(2).pdf