Community Connections Youth Project
The rate of homelessness for children who age-out of foster care is alarming. Nationally, 1 in 5 children who age-out of care becomes homeless. In Jackson County, that rate increases to 1 in 4. The amount of time foster care alumni live on the streets averages 27½ months compared to 19.3 months for those who had no foster care history. Additionally, 50% of former foster youth who aged out of foster care will be unemployed by the age of 24.
Community Connections Youth Project is a voluntary case management program offered by FosterAdopt Connect to serve older foster youth and young adults who recently aged-out of foster care (ages 17-26). The overall goal of the program is to connect clients to services and resources they need to be successful as adults, and to mitigate many of the circumstances that lead to negative lifetime outcomes for people who have experienced significant childhood trauma.
18600 E. 37th Ter. • Independence, MO 64057
816-646-8426 • fosteradopt.org
2021 COMBAT Funding: $39,125.00
In FosterAdopt's Own Words
Community Connections Youth Project is a voluntary case management program offered by FosterAdopt Connect that serves older foster youth and young adults who recently aged-out of foster care ages 17-26. The overall goal of our program is to connect our clients to services and resources they need to be successful as adults, and to mitigate many of the circumstances that lead to negative lifetime outcomes for people who have experienced significant childhood trauma.
Vulnerable Young Adults
This population is very likely to experience mental health challenges, substance abuse, homelessness and domestic violence after their exit from foster care.
Following enrollment, clients define immediate and long-term goals, and receive one-on-one assistance from dedicated staff specialists (many who are former foster youth) to achieve those goals. These goals fall into several domains including education, employment and financial stability.
Helping our clients achieve these goals increases the resources they have at their disposal to address crises as they arise, and greatly reduces the likelihood that they will experience domestic violence or will perpetrate violence on another.
Direct Assistance To Meet Goals
CCYP clients also receive direct assistance to help meet their goals, including transportation, service linkage, access to supportive housing and (in a limited number of cases) financial assistance. CCYP staff meet with clients at least monthly, helping to encourage continuous improvement and to monitor client progress.
Unique Set Of Challenges
Former foster youth face a unique set of challenges that are uncommon among the general population, and are likely to have access to fewer resources than young adults in the general population. The Congressional Research Service reports that between 35% and 60% of foster youth and foster care alumni have at least one chronic or acute health condition that needs treatment, and 50% to 75% of foster youth exhibit behavioral or social competency issues that may require mental health treatment.
Youth who have aged out of foster care are more likely than their general peers to have a health condition that limits their daily activities, more likely to take part in psychological and substance abuse counseling, and less likely to be insured.
Difficulty Transitioning To Adult Life
According to a 2018 fact sheet published by the federal Children’s Bureau, “Studies show that many youth who exit foster care have difficulties as they transition to adult life. They are more likely than their peers to be homeless or have housing instability (e.g. 'couch surfing'), experience health and mental health problems, have drug and alcohol dependence, have encounters with the criminal justice system, earn less money, be unemployed, and not have a high school or postsecondary degree. They may lack important knowledge and skills for living on their own (e.g., maintaining a budget, cooking, etc.), securing and maintaining employment, and receiving critical health and support services.”
Alarming Rate Of Homelessness
The rate of homelessness for children who age-out of foster care is alarming. Nationally, 1 in 5 children who age-out of care becomes homeless. In Jackson County, that rate increases to 1 in 4 young adults (Jackson County CASA, 2018).
The amount of time foster care alumni live on the streets averages 27½ months compared to 19.3 months for those who had no foster care history. Additionally, 50% of former foster youth who aged out of foster care will be unemployed by the age of 24.
Sustainable, Healthy Relationships
When working with this population, it is important to note the impact sustainable, healthy relationships can have on young people’s future successes. Research and experience teach us that permanent emotionally sustaining and committed relationships are imperative for youth to reach self-sufficiency and to thrive in early adulthood, yet many young people leave care without any such relationships.
CCYP services work to counter these trends by connecting clients to invaluable services and networks of support in the communities where clients reside.
These are the agencies that have a COMBAT-funded program with a youth-oriented emphasis or component.
» Integrated Arts Violence Prevention Program
Blue Springs School District
» Eastern Jackson County Schools Collaborative of Greater Kansas City
Blue Springs Police Department
» Community Outreach Prevention Strategies (COPS)
Bridge Leadership Academy
» Bridge Anti-Bullying & Life Skills Program
Calvary Community Outreach Network
» Helping Youth Plan For Excellence
Centers for Conflict Resolution
» Reducing Compound Trauma In Hot Spots
DeLaSalle Education Center
» DeLaSalle Violence Prevention
» Community Connections Youth Project
Hickman Mills Prevention Coalition
» Hope Hangout
» Violence Prevention For Jackson County African-American Males
Independence Youth Court
» Peer Diversion
Jackson County Family Court
» Night Light Law Enforcement Curfew Program
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey
» AileyCamp & AileyCamp The Group
Kansas City Municipal Court
» KC Truancy Intervention Program (TIP)
Kansas City Public Schools
» Defy The Odds Program
Mattie Rhodes Center
» Mattie Rhodes Violence & Intervention Program
» STEM Educational Programs
Rose Brooks Center
» Project SAFE
» Sheffield Bullying/Violence Prevention
Sisters In Christ
» Safe Zone
United Inner City Services (UICS)
» Arts@UICS - Child Centered Creativity (C3)
Urban Ranger Corps
» Urban Ranger Program
Whatsoever Community Center
» Whatsoever Youth Services
Youth Ambassadors, Inc.
» Youth Ambassadors Summer & School Year Programming