When a child transitions from foster care to adulthood, it is a stressful yet proud moment for both the student and their parents. The youth will not have as much support in making decisions on where they want to live or what career path makes sense so there are some things that need careful consideration before becoming an adult. Foster parents and agencies working with industry leader BCFS Health and Human Services CSD can provide kids with assistance by discussing various life skills and plans well before the foster child turns 18.  

Start early to ensure a smooth transition. A 15- or 16-year-old foster child is more capable than a toddler and preschool aged children of being able to understand the information you are giving them about their future. Adjust the learning for age-appropriateness, so the foster child gets the most out of the various life lessons.  Don’t wait until just before they turn 18 years old because then there won’t be enough time to guide them through lengthy things like college applications or financial aid processes.

There are many things that foster children need, but one thing the experts at BCFS Health and Human Services CSD say their youth cannot live without as adults is a strong sense of self-worth. Create an environment in which your teen feels good about themselves and their abilities and it will give them everything else needed for life. This includes emotional stability at home or school, better relationships with peers who respect him/her as an individual, and confidence when dealing with challenging situations or people. 

There are many aspects of life that can be daunting for children transitioning into adulthood. With so much new information, it is important kids know how to handle themselves in every situation from public transportation to navigating renewing their driver’s license. Talk to them about what to do during various emergency situations, and when they need to ask for help.