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New Initiative Supports NV Foster Youth Aging Out of Care

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A new initiative seeks to help youths aging out of foster care make a plan to attend post-secondary education or join the workforce. (terovesalainen/Adobe Stock)
A new initiative seeks to help youths aging out of foster care make a plan to attend post-secondary education or join the workforce. (terovesalainen/Adobe Stock)
January 26, 2021

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Groups are partnering with the Children's Advocacy Alliance to launch a new initiative connecting youths in foster care with the resources they need to transition to independent adult living.

Autumn Robertson, foster youth success initiative peer and community educator for the Nevada System of Higher Education, said many of the students she talks to who are aging out of foster care lack the resources to chart a path forward, whether they want to go to college or enter the workforce.

She noted obstacles can include figuring out how to fill out a FAFSA form to access federal financial aid, or finding the right trade programs and apprenticeships.

"They're being thrown out into the world and they don't have that career readiness that they need," Robertson cautioned. "They don't know how to build a resume. They don't know how to fill out a cover letter, how to do a job application. They don't know their interview etiquette."

The program also connects foster youths with local workforce boards who may be able to point them toward businesses who are hiring, as well as certification and credential programs.

Laura Obrist, foster youth ambassador for the Nevada System of Higher Education, said sometimes youths aging out of foster care are convinced to take on more student loans than they can handle, or join an industry that's not right for them.

"Sometimes young people get steered a certain direction, because that's what's available, and it's not something they're passionate about," Obrist observed. "And that can sometimes cause a lack of confidence then, that they failed, when really, it's just they're not interested in this or maybe it's something that was meant to be temporary, and that's OK."

She added many young people will benefit from having connections to reputable opportunities in different trades that come with funding and support from the initiative.

Lily Bohlke, Public News Service - NV