Grantmakers of Western PA, along with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, is pleased to welcome the Annie E. Casey Foundation and its Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative to Pittsburgh. Join Marc Chena, JoAnn Hannah and Erin Dalton over breakfast at the Duquesne Club for the opportunity to meet the Jim Casey team and hear about the latest developments in the field of foster care youth. Joining us will be:
Sandra Gasca-Gonzales, Director
Paula Gentry, Senior Associate, Youth Engagement
Ann Jefferson, Pittsburgh Site Liaison
Bob Giloth, VP for Community and Economic Development, Annie E. Casey Foundation
The mission of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is to ensure that young people—primarily those ages 14 through 25—make successful transitions from foster care to adulthood. The Initiative works nationally, in states, and locally to improve policies and practices, promote youth engagement, apply evaluation and research, and create community partnerships. The work creates opportunities for young people to achieve positive outcomes in permanence, education, employment, housing, health, financial capability, and social capital.
In any given state, there are hundreds of young people at risk for leaving foster care without permanent connections to a stable family and community. Each year, 23,000 young people transition without the typical growing-up experiences that teach self-sufficiency skills, and without the family supports and community networks that help them make successful transitions to adulthood. As a result, these young people experience very poor outcomes at a much higher rate than the general population:
- More than one in five will become homeless after age 18
- Only 58 percent will graduate high school by age 19 (compared to 87 percent of all 19 year olds)
- 71 percent of young women are pregnant by 21, facing higher rates of unemployment, criminal conviction, public assistance, and involvement in the child welfare system 3
- At the age of 24, only half are employed
- Fewer than 3 percent will earn a college degree by age 25 (compared to 28 percent of all 25 year olds
- One in four will be involved in the justice system within two years of leaving the foster care system
The Initiative helps bridge a gap in services for these young people so they can have the opportunity to achieve a better path as they transition from foster care to adulthood.
Created in 2001, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities is a national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with major funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Sherwood Foundation, and critical support contributed each year by a network of regional and local foundations. The Initiative has public and private partnerships in 17 sites across the country including Pittsburgh.
*Continental breakfast will be served.
*Special thanks to GWP member organization, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, for hosting this conversation.