Older Youth in Care

Foster Care Illinois

Independence. Emancipation. Aging Out. Child welfare professionals know these words all too well because of the unfortunate reality that too many young people face: leaving foster care at the age of 18 without a permanent family.

Our organization has a long history of advocating for permanency for older youth in care. 15? 16? 17? 18? It doesn’t matter, because we believe that every child, at every age, deserves a loving family.

From 2005 to 2010, iCAP administered a federally-funded program, the Family Connections Project, with the express purpose of promoting and securing permanency for older youth. Over the course of this project, we developed numerous resources for child welfare professionals. These resources include the following:

  • “Maintaining Connections,” a free online training course for case managers that covers the benefits of maintaining birth family connections for older youth in care. To complete this course on the Adoption Learning Partners website, click here.
  • “Strong Connections,” a stage play written and performed by alumni of the Illinois child welfare system. “Strong Connections” was performed 14 times before a total audience of approximately 2,700 people (including a national gathering of Juvenile and Family Court Judges). To purchase a DVD of the play, click here. To read about how “Strong Connections” can be replicated in your community, click here.
  • “Family Connections,” a professionally produced DVD highlighting the importance of birth family relationships. This video features interviews with foster care alumni and adoptive parents who describe the positive impact of maintaining (or re-establishing) connections. To purchase a copy of the DVD, click here.
  • Teaching materials designed to communicate the importance of youth achieving permanency while maintaining connections to the important people in their lives. These materials are available on our website for free. Please click below to download curricula for:

If you have additional questions regarding permanency for older youth in care, please contact us today.