Towards Employment joins Connecting the Dots program

Towards Employment is proud to join the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services (CCDCFS), Employment Connections, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and several other community partners in a pilot project called Connecting the Dots (CTD).

This is a new initiative to aid teenagers and young adults who are a part of the foster care system to transition more successfully into adulthood. The idea behind the program is to help youth make the transition from living in foster care to prepare them for work, vocational training, college, or independent living.

Towards Employment, which operates the Youth Resource Center at Employment Connections, will serve as the home base for the CTD program and will work to connect youth from CCDCFS to participating provider agencies. Youth friendly events that highlight provider programs and connect youth to providers will be held at the YRC, in addition to helping some individuals find direct paid work experience.

Approximately 1,000 to 1,300 young people in Ohio age out of foster care each year. Key statistics nationally:

• 33% receive neither a high school diploma nor a GED, compared to fewer than 10% of their same-age peers

• 81% of males formerly in foster care are arrested by age 24

• 48% of females become pregnant by age 19

• 33% of former foster youth have household incomes below the poverty level

• 25% have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (compared to 15% of Vietnam War veterans)

• 22% have experienced homelessness (In fact, 40% of America’s adult homeless population spent some time in foster care.)

By providing better support to the 24,000 young people nationally who age out of foster care each year, it is estimated that more than $5.7 billion could be saved over their lifetime.

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