A critical piece for young people exiting care is the ability to develop a support network, and the influence of informal role models to serve as mentors in a support network. While each of the young adult’s needs is important in its own right, we are increasingly learning the importance of significant adult relationships in supporting young adults during the transition to adulthood. Support services for former foster youth must focus on a larger target than the establishment of mentoring relationships. As we identify the important resources which will be needed by these young adults to support their efforts to achieve independence, we must develop partnerships with public and private agencies that already offer the needed services. Emphasis is placed on connecting or referring youth rather than providing financial assistance. Chafee funds may be expended for a variety of reasons and should be used as a support for the young adult, not as an on-going supplemental funding source.
Expenditures may include, but should not be limited to, emergency/crisis intervention, housing/room and board, educational assistance, job training/employment assistance, and support services. Support services should include, but are not limited to life skills, transportation, health care, mentoring, child care, and job training/employment assistance.