May 27, 2013

Off Campus: Young people in foster care need a better path forward

Youth 'age out' of the system at age 18, though they still need support as they build their lives.

By MARTY ZANGHI and MICHAEL AUGUSTINE Special to the Press Herald

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As we celebrate National Foster Care Month this May, Maine is among 16 states who have come together to launch Success Beyond 18, a national campaign led by the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to assist states in their efforts to extend foster care, and to do it right.

For nearly a decade, public and private partners in Maine have worked together as the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative, focused on improving the successful transition of youth in foster care to adulthood.

We at the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative can't do it alone. Success means that everyone -- not just those of us who work directly with these young people -- makes a commitment to this cause.

Show your support: Visit the Maine Youth Transition Collaborative at www.maine-ytc.org and learn how you can play a part in creating a better path for young people transitioning from foster care. The future of our young people -- and our state -- depends on it.

Marty Zanghi is director of youth and community engagement programs at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service, and Michael Augustine, MSW, is an alumnus of Maine's foster care system.

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