Transition Age Youth

Reconnecting Youth

Addressing the needs of disconnected youth is critical to America’s future. The President’s FY 2013 Budget proposes an Inter-Agency Disconnected Youth Initiative that would provide for increased flexibility for States and localities and modest funding for the Federal partners.

The National Youth in Transition Database

The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) is a new Federal reporting system created to track the independent living services States provide to youth and to collect outcomes information from youth transitioning out of foster care that may be used to assess States' performance in operating their independent living programs.

Promising Strategies and Existing Gaps in Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens

In recent years, the federal government has made investments toward building a scientific evidence base of effective programs and models addressing teen pregnancy prevention. In addition, funding was made available to provide services to pregnant and parenting teens, who need strong support networks and a comprehensive array of resources to help them transition to parenthood and adulthood and improve their educational outcomes.

The Youth Career Café - Empowering Youth to Succeed in the Real World

Youth Career Cafés are places in the Virginia cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, James City, and York where youth learn to navigate the business world and see how their education is relevant to the real world. The Cafés’ purpose is to provide resources to help young people develop workplace readiness skills, make career goals, and identify post-secondary options that match those career goals.

The Voices of Young People Highlight the SSRHY Annual Meeting

Support Systems for Rural Homeless Youth (SSRHY) is a 5-year, 6-state collaborative demonstration funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) with the Children’s Bureau (CB) as a supporting partner.  SSRHY is aimed at improving adult outcomes for rural youth who are approaching young adulthood and independence but who have few or no connections to a supportive family or community resources.  This includes runaway and homeless youth and youth transitioning out of foster care.

LGBT

Sexual orientation and gender are important aspects of a young person’s identity. Understanding and expressing sexual orientation and gender and developing related identities are typical development tasks that vary across children and youth. For example, some youth may be unsure of their sexual orientation, whereas others have been clear about it since childhood and have expressed it since a young age.1 Expressing and exploring gender identity and roles is also a part of normal development.2 The process of understanding and expressing one’s sexual orientation and gender identity is unique to each individual. It is not a one-time event and personal, cultural, and social factors may influence how one expresses their sexual orientation and gender identity.3

Unfortunately, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth experience various challenges because of how others respond to their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. This is also true for youth who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity, or may be perceived as LGBT or gender variant by others.4 A landmark 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report reviewed research on the health of LGBT individuals, including youth. Although this research is limited, the IOM report found that “the disparities in both mental and physical health that are seen between LGBT and heterosexual and non-gender-variant youth are influenced largely by their experiences of stigma and discrimination during the development of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”5 These negative experiences include high rates of physical and emotional bias and violence; rejection by families and peers; and inadequate supports in schools, employment, and communities because of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Stress associated with these experiences can put LGBT young people at risk for negative health outcomes. Research shows that due to these environmental challenges, LGBT youth are at risk for negative health outcomes and are more likely to attempt suicide, experience homelessness, and use illegal drugs.6 These issues may also contribute to anxiety, depressive symptoms, and feelings of isolation. Youth who express their gender in ways that vary from societal expectations for their perceived sex or gender are at risk for high levels of childhood physical, psychological, and sexual abuse.7 They are also at risk for school victimization.8 As a result, they may have poorer well-being than lesbian, gay, and bisexual peers whose gender expression is more closely aligned with societal expectations.9

To date, most research on LGBT youth has focused on the risk factors and disparities they experience compared with youth who are not LGBT. However, emerging research on resiliency and protective factors offers a strength-based focus on LGBT youth well-being. Addressing LGBT-related stigma, discrimination, and violence; building on the strengths of LGBT youth; and fostering supports such as family acceptance and safe, affirming environments in schools and other settings will help improve outcomes for LGBT young people. Federal and local policies and practices increasingly acknowledge and focus on the experiences and needs of LGBT youth. Numerous national advocacy and other organizations are also giving greater attention to LGBT youth in their work.10 Fostering safe, affirming communities and youth-serving settings such as schools for all youth requires efforts to address the challenges described here. At the same time, it is also important to acknowledge and build on the strengths, resilience, and factors that protect LGBT youth from risk, such as connection to caring adults and peers and family acceptance.

1 Institute of Medicine, 2011; Poirier, Fisher, Hunt, & Bearse, 2014
2 Institute of Medicine, 2011; Poirier, Fisher, Hunt, & Bearse, 2014
3 Poirier, Fisher, Hunt, & Bearse, 2014
4 Gender variant youth are not necessarily LGBT. In fact, any youth who does not fit typical social expectations for his or her mannerisms, behavior, or choice of clothing based on birth-assigned gender, for example, can be considered “gender variant.” This does not mean the youth is lesbian, gay, or bisexual—or identifies as a gender different from what he or she was assigned at birth (i.e., transgender).
5 Institute of Medicine, 2011, p. 142
6 Hunter & Schaecher, 1987; Reis, 1999; Reis & Saewyc, 1999; Ray, 2006; Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009; SAMHSA, 2014
7 Roberts, Rosario, Corliss, Koenen, & Austin, 2012
8 Toomey, Ryan, Diaz, & Russell, 2010
9 Rieger & Savin-Williams, 2012
10 American Association of School Administrators et al., n.d.; National Association of School Nurses, 2003; National Association of School Psychologists, 2006

Employment

Nearly all young people—98.6 percent—hold at least one job between the ages of 18 and 25.1 The average young person holds 6.3 jobs between 18 and 25.2 Some work part-time or summers only, while others see full-time permanent employment as their path to economic independence. Employment can be beneficial for youth by teaching responsibility, organization, and time management and helping to establish good work habits, experience, and financial stability.3 There are many advantages to working during high school, especially for low-income youth, including higher employment rates and wages in later teen years and lower probabilities of dropping out of high school.4 Knowing how to find and keep a job is not only critical for admission to the adult world but also is an important survival skill for which there is little in the way of formal, structured preparation.

1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013a
2 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013a
3 Child Trends, 2010
4 Tienda & Ahituv, 1996

Transition & Aging Out

The Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs supports a number of efforts to build the skills and resources of youth aged 16-24. Whether they are called "youth in transition," "transition age youth," "youth aging out" or other terms, youth in this age group experience a number of challenges on their path to a successful adulthood. A particular challenge for federal programs is support for youth transitioning out of foster care or juvenile detention facilities, youth who have run away from home or dropped out of school, and youth with disabilities.

SBIRT/YouthBuild

The Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partnered in a pilot program.

Youth ChalleNGe Program

The Corporation for National and Community Service’s AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and the Department of Defense's National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program began their collaboration in 2009 as a way to assist one another with placement and leadership opportunities for disadvantaged and out-of-school youth serving in their programs.