NYS Seal



Oral Testimony by Invitation Only


The Needs of Youth Aging out of Foster Care


To assess the effectiveness of current efforts to meet the needs of youth aging out of foster care.

Friday, December 14th, 2007
York College
Performing Arts Center
94 - 45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd between
Liberty Avenue and Archer Avenue
Jamaica, NY

More than 1,400 youth between the ages of 18 and 21 aged out of foster care statewide in 2006. These youth were not reunified with their families or adopted. Rather, they were left alone to secure housing, employment and necessary health care services. Many foster children each year face this daunting task. The difficulty of achieving independence for the first time is often compounded by a history of abuse or neglect. Many children have experienced multiple placements in foster care, disrupting their physical, mental, educational and social growth. Unlike their non-foster peers, youth who age out of foster care frequently lack the support of a strong family network. These factors often mean that upon exiting care, many youth will struggle to meet their basic needs.

According to the Chapin Hall Center for Children, youth who have aged out of foster care fall far behind their non-foster peers in education, employment, health care and housing. Nationally, more than one-third of foster youth who aged out do not possess a high school diploma or equivalent. Almost one-half are unemployed upon discharge, and those who are employed earn an average income below the Federal Poverty Level. Youth who age out are almost three times more likely to have health and mental health problems. The Chapin Hall study also finds that 14% report experiencing homelessness. While New York State cannot provide data on the number of youth who age out into homelessness statewide, the percentage in New York City is much higher than what is reported nationally. According to the testimony of the Department of Homeless Services at a recent City Hall Hearing, between 18% and 26% of foster youth who age out enter New York City homeless shelters each year.

New York State must strive to ensure that each child leaves foster care with adequate support to become self-sufficient. Youth aging out should be equipped with comprehensive skills and knowledge to become productive citizens. Aftercare services must be adequate to help foster children aging out secure proper educational, employment, health care and housing needs. The Assembly Committee on Children and Families is holding this hearing jointly with the Subcommittee on Foster Care to address the ways in which state agencies partner with local districts and voluntary agencies to meet the educational, employment, health care and housing needs of youth aging out of foster care, and to determine what additional efforts are necessary.

Please see the list of subjects to which witnesses may direct their testimony. Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committee at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 10 minutes. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committee will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. In the absence of a request, witnesses will be scheduled in the order in which reply forms are postmarked.

Ten copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk. The Committee would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements.

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee's interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

William Scarborough
Member of Assembly
Committee on Children and Families

Michelle R. Titus
Member of Assembly
Subcommittee on Foster Care


  1. What types of skills are emphasized in independent living programs? How many youth are served by these programs? Are the programs readily accessible? Are they beneficial in preparing children to live independently?

  2. The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program provides states flexibility for funding a variety of services. What services are currently being funded through the Chafee program? Should funding be utilized towards other allowable services? How is this money distributed among the local districts? Please explain.

  3. How do local districts prepare a youth age 18 and over for discharge to independent living? How does the discharge process work? Is there a mechanism for tracking youth after they have been discharged from care to ensure they are meeting their basic needs?

  4. When youth 18 and over are discharged to independent living, do they encounter any difficulties in receiving Medicaid coverage or other health care services once they leave the foster care system? Please explain.

  5. When youth leave care, they may be categorized as being discharged to "another planned permanent living arrangement" with a "permanency resource." Please explain what this means. What constitutes a planned living arrangement? What constitutes a permanency resource? Do local districts follow through with the youth to ensure the plan is being implemented?

  6. Does OCFS provide supervision to youth discharged to "another planned permanent living arrangement" (also known as "independent living") from care until they are 21? If so, what supports are provided and how do youth access them? If a youth wishes to return into care prior to their 21st birthday for housing or other services, does the district accept the youth back into care? If so, how does the process work? Do local districts provide any support for youth past the age of 21? Please explain.

  7. How many foster youth receive housing upon discharge through the following: NY/NY I, II and III, SHFYA, HASA, NYCHA or Section 8? What is the respective waiting list for these programs? Are there other housing programs available?

  8. What happens if there is no viable housing option for a youth set to age out of care? Under what circumstance is a youth discharged to a homeless shelter due to lack of housing? Approximately how many youth a year are discharged to the shelter system?

  9. When youth aging out of foster care do not have a sufficient source of income, do local districts assist them in applying for public assistance, housing, food stamps, Medicaid or other benefits? Will the local district assist them in applying at any point after they are discharged to independent living?

  10. How many youth receive Educational Training Vouchers? Are there enough vouchers for each youth who requests one? Are funds adequate to cover their educational expenses? How are youth made aware of the vouchers and other sources of higher education funding they may be eligible for? Do the local districts use ETV funds to offset, or to supplement, costs they are responsible for covering for foster youth attending college?

  11. How many youth in foster care are undocumented aliens? Is their immigration status resolved prior to leaving care? If not, what assistance is provided? Please explain.


Persons wishing to present testimony at the public hearing on The Needs of Youth Aging out of Foster Care are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Naomi Golden
Legislative Analyst
Assembly Committee on Children and Families
Room 522 - Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
E-mail: goldenn@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4371
Fax: (518) 455-4693

box I plan to attend the following public hearing on The Needs of Youth Aging out of Foster Care to be conducted by the Assembly Committee on Children and Families on December 14, 2007.

box I plan to make a public statement at the hearing. My statement will be limited to 10 minutes, and I will answer any questions which may arise. I will provide 10 copies of my prepared statement.


I will address my remarks to the following subjects:

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