Foster Youth learn to earn

Article

As hundreds of foster youth in our region formally age out of the foster care system, few are prepared to live independently. United Way California Capital Region is partnering with its Women in Philanthropy group and local nonprofits to ensure our region’s foster youth have financial security as they transition to independence.

Without support, fewer than half of foster youth leave care with a high school diploma or equivalency. Only 29 percent of youth report obtaining part-time or full-time employment, and of those who do, nearly 80 percent are only employed part-time. Ten percent of these youth have no means of financial support, and 25 percent have experienced homelessness.

United Way and its Women in Philanthropy group are working with Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency, Koinonia Family Services, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento and New Morning Youth and Family Services will put together a plan to create Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for foster youth leaving the system. IDAs are special bank accounts that earn one dollar for every dollar the foster youth saves. The matching funds are deposited in an account held by United Way and can be used to purchase specific items.

While saving, foster youth will also be provided support to become self-sufficienct once they leave foster care. In addition to financial literacy classes youth will also learn how to comparison shop, use credit, budget and more. Many programs are also offering tutoring mentoring and life skills classes, career and education planning.

United Way’s program will not only help our region’s foster youth learn to earn, but will ensure they have the chance to begin building their lives immediately.