Resources for Youth
There are many resources available to assist young people current experiencing foster care, as well as youth who formerly experienced foster care. Resources include support and assistance described in our Education, Extended Foster Care and Successful Transition to Adulthood sections, as well as with the following:
- Advocacy & Rights
- Housing Options
- Community Based Support & Assistance
Residents of Arizona who are ages 18, 19 and 20 and who were formerly in a state or tribal foster care program (in any state) at age 16 or older, may access support and assistance through the Arizona Transitional Independent Living Program (aka Successful Transition to Adulthood).
DCS Youth Advocates
Youth Advocates are young people who have lived experience in the foster care system. If you are struggling with an issue and need to talk with someone who has “been there”, consider requesting assistance from one of our Youth Advocates. They have experience assisting young people with education, workforce, parenting and other issues that are often difficult to manage when living in foster care. For assistance, see our flyer and/or contact [email protected].
Youth Empowerment Council
The Youth Empowerment Council is a place to be a representative voice for youth who have experienced foster care. Council members participate in Youth Leadership panels at conferences and community events, serve as role models for youth in foster care, provide advice for independent living program goals and objectives, advocate for DCS improvements by examining policies, procedures and practices, and recommend adjustments that will result in positive outcomes for youth in foster care.
Official youth membership is open to all youth, ages 14-23 that have experienced the foster care in Arizona. The council meets once a month, in person or virtually. Foster Care Alumni over the age of 23 are welcome to attend meetings, activities, and share their experiences.
The Youth Empowerment Council is a place to network, make friends, enjoy incentives for participation, and HAVE FUN!
If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. You can also follow us on Instagram @az_yec.
When planning for the type of housing option that is best for you, consider both your short and long-term goals for maintaining your health (both physical and mental well-being), your connections with the important people in your life, as well as the supports you need to help you reach your goals for education and employment/career. A living arrangement that provides a caregiver who ensures your daily needs (food, clothing, etc.) are met (such as a foster home, kinship care or a group home) may be important to ensuring you do well in high school, versus an arrangement where you take more responsibilities for your basic needs (food, clothing, etc.) such as a transitional or independent living situation. Talk openly with your DCS Specialist about what you feel is best for your situation “today” as well as preparing for the future.
Explore the following transitional (aka supervised independent living setting) and independent living options as you think about and prepare for your future living arrangement:
If you are receiving payments from the DCS for your housing/living expenses or for some other reason (i.e. education incentives), you can set up direct deposit. Direct deposit is a great way to make sure a check is never lost!
Resolving Complaints & Grievances
The Arizona Young Adult Program encourages youth to take advantage of services and supports available. These services and supports will be outlined in the case plan and agreed to by all parties (youth, case manager, service providers). The plan should be individualized and reflect what the youth wishes. If your DCS specialist is ending a service and you disagree with the closure, please contact the ombudsman at [email protected].
Individuals who have a complaint will be provided a copy of the department’s written conflict resolution and grievance procedures and will be encouraged to raise the complaint informally with the supervisor for resolution. An individual may initiate a formal grievance request at any time during the process.
The state also has a process that ensures your concerns/complaints are heard, including a formal grievance process. For more information on this and other questions about foster care and services, follow the link to our online DCS Policy Manual. (Chapter 5 Sections 35-38 contains information on Young Adult Program services and Chapter 7 Section 19 provides information on Resolving Conflict, including formal grievance procedures.)
In 2009, Governor Brewer signed into law the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care. This bill outlines rights for older youth in care, including living arrangements, education, life skills, behavioral health, normalcy, and family engagement.
Visit Fostering Advocates Arizona to learn more about the Bill of Rights for children and youth in foster care.
Community Based Support & Assistance
- Teen Lifeline 1 (800) 248-TEEN (8336)
- Christian Teen Helpline 1 (800) 394-HOPE (4673)
- National Runaway Switchboard 1 (800) 621-4000
- Suicide Hotline 1 (800) SUICIDE (784-2433), 1-886-205-5229 (crisis line)
- Sexual Assault Hotline 1 (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
- ChildHelp USA 1 (800) 422-4453
LGBTQ Helplines and Resources
Post-Secondary Education and Training
Teen Health and Pregnancy Resources