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“Virtual Parent” Debuts to Help Ohio Youth Transition to Adulthood

May 20, 2009

Columbus, OH – Ohio teens have a new "virtual parent:" a website that debuts today. It will provide information to youth preparing to "age out" of foster care, helping them make the transition to adult independence. More than 1,300 Ohioans leave foster care each year.

Brandi Scales with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio says many of these youth have been in state care for several years and have no safety net to help them deal with the challenges of adulthood.

"Most young people are about 25 years old before they are able to stand on their own two feet. Foster youth are in an interesting situation because they are sent out into the world - without any stable relationships with adults - to figure things out on their own at age 18."

The website is organized into categories such as education, money management, employment, health, housing and legal issues. It will enable users to access many of the state's resources in one central location.

Scales says it is essential that young people develop their own understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

"Foster youth often transition into a desperate outcome - they end up homeless or in the juvenile justice system - so this is a way for them to curtail destructive activity by getting good information, even if they don't have a connection to an adult."

The Ohio State Bar Foundation and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio collaborated on the project. The website URL is www.MyMissionTransition.com.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH