Be Specific About the End of Foster Care
Use precise language to describe the day that foster care ends.
Who Can Do This?:
Anyone, but it’s most effective if done across your entire program
Cost: Free, though you may have to re-print some materials
Timeframe: Within a few weeks
The Problem It Solves
Youth often misunderstand when their foster care ends by an entire year. In a multi-state discovery sprint with older foster youth, Think of Us found that when youth hear foster care goes “until 21” they believe that means “until their 22nd birthday,” but it means it ends on their 21st birthday. ”
If a youth believes they have an entire extra year in care, they may accidentally delay plans and activities that can prepare them for independence.
How To Do This
- Conduct an inventory of your program materials that reference the end of foster care (posters, pamphlets, website content, and hand-outs)
- Replace references to “until 21” with “to the end of 20” or “until your 21st birthday.” (If your program ends at a different age, follow this same pattern.)
- Youth will clearly understand on what day they will age out of foster care.
Think of Us is conducting a study to identify the best language to use in this scenario, and we’ll update this play with their results.
Who’s Doing This?
This play was contributed by Think of Us.