Community Symposium: Voting Access and Preparation for Youth in Foster Care
Voting Access and Preparation for Youth in Foster Care: Strategies for Supporting Civic Engagement
Child Welfare Advocate & DNC Presidential Fellow
Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth
Panel of Young Adult Experts
Click here to view the Field Center’s presentation slides.
Click here to view Lexie Grüber’s presentation slides.
Every year, approximately 20,000 young adults age out of foster care – of age to vote and with critical interests to protect. Thousands more are in extended foster care past age 18. These young people may not be made aware of their right to vote or face additional barriers due to their placements. Civic engagement has an important impact on young adults, especially youth with experience in foster care, who face increased challenges with health care, housing, education, and employment. Federal laws require child welfare agencies to request certain vital documents and requires that young men register with Selective Service before a young adult exits foster care. However, there are few, if any, regulations in place to ensure that foster youth know about their right to vote, and that those who are interested in registering to vote are supported in doing so. Advocates can inform young people about their rights and help them develop the skills they need to transition to adulthood and defend those rights. With the upcoming Pennsylvania primary election on May 18th, it is essential that older youth in foster care and those who support them know how to make sure they have any required documents and a plan to make their voices heard.
This virtual symposium brought together young adults with experience in foster care, advocates, and child welfare practitioners to offer perspectives, interventions, and strategies for improving access to voting for youth in foster care.