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CLM Highlights Opportunities to Improve Outcomes for Young Adults Exiting the State's Child Welfare System

March 18, 2024
(L to R: Kye Holiday, More Than Words; Katrina Mitchell, Youth Villages LifeSet Program; Alan Mack, The Home for Little Wanderers)

On March 14th, CLM and partners held a legislative briefing at the Massachusetts State House and called for increased support for Massachusetts’ transition age youth through the adoption of key legislation and budget investments.

Transition age youth (TAY) are young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 years old who are in the process of leaving or who have left the child welfare system without permanency.

The briefing featured young adults directly advocating to policymakers for the supports, resources, and systemic changes needed for youth exiting the child welfare system to achieve success and independence. All three youth speakers shared powerful stories on how the inclusion of consistent, tailored, and trauma-informed support from community-based providers was the defining factor in achieving their goals.

Program speakers included Lesli Suggs, President & CEO, The Home for Little Wanderers and Matt Stone, Executive Director, Youth Villages Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, who are leaders of community-based programs who work with youth and Co-Chairs of CLM's Coalition on Transition Age Youth.

Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Senator Jo Comerford also spoke to key bills they sponsor geared towards transition age youth.

**Thank you to the Members of CLM's Transition Age Youth Coalition for your partnership and expertise in making this event possible!**

CLM's Budget Priorities on Transition Age Youth

  • Fully Fund CLM’s Priority Line Items at the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
    • The following line items support DCF programs vital to transition age youth, such as adolescent support networks, behavioral health services, transition to adulthood services, teen pregnancy prevention, and young parent support programs. Improving access to housing and support for young adults, and improving transparency of how TAY funding is spread across various state line items are also budget priorities
Line ItemDescriptionGovernor’s FY25 Proposal
4800-0040Family Support & Stabilization$139,539,127
4800-0041Congregate Care$495,889,634
4800-0038Services for Children & Families$376,723,635
  • Maximize Implementation of the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) Housing Vouchers Program
    • Increased staffing and resources are needed for state agencies and contracted community providers to effectively implement this program.

  • Fund and Implement the BAY-CASH Initiative Across Massachusetts
    • $577,600 to cover one year of regular, modest cash transfers in this pilot program providing targeted supportive services to effectively end youth homelessness for 18 to 24-year-olds.

CLM's Legislative Priorities on Transition Age Youth

You can contact the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities by May 2nd to urge them to favorably report out the following bills using this easy-to-use legislative outreach template.

  • Pass an Act Protecting Benefits Owed to Foster Children
    • Sen. Jo Comerford (S.65) & Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (H.157)
    • This bill would require Social Security benefits to go directly to children and youth in foster care via ABLE accounts, to accrue savings to pay for college, housing, and other expenses. Passing this bill would codify this practice and protect these funds from state interference.

  • Pass an Act Establishing a Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care
    • Sen. Jo Comerford (S.68) & Rep. Michael J. Finn (H.164)
    • This bill would codify and expand the rights of children in foster care to receive robust support that would promote stability and success of young people as they prepare to exit state care.

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