Each year, more than 700 Arizona young adults mark their 18th birthday in foster care without a permanent, stable family. Many of these youth find themselves jobless, without a place to live, transportation or a positive community of support.
A new initiative in Arizona aims to create better outcomes for these young people by getting input from those who have experienced firsthand the foster care system.
The Arizona Youth Opportunities initiative is seeking a dozen former and current foster youth between the ages of 16 and 26 for its Arizona Youth Partnership Board. The board will help guide the new initiative. Besides identifying the greatest needs of youth aging out of foster care, board members will spread the word to other foster youth about services available to them.
The foster youth initiative is a project of Children’s Action Alliance and funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. It recently joined with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which is helping foster youth in 18 states transition to adulthood, now including Arizona.
Within the first year, the Initiative’s focus will include outreach on educational, medical, and financial services and programs available to current and former young people who experienced foster care.
Foster youth who want to share their story, build a youth network, design training and events and develop an advocacy agenda can complete an application online at www.azchildren.org or contact Meghan Arrigo at (602) 266-0707, ext. 211, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.