The Foster Care Work Group (FCWG) is one of three work groups of the Youth Transition Funders Group (YTFG), a collaboration of foundation leaders dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable young people. Foundation leaders participating in the YTFG are committed to achieving a common vision – ensuring that vulnerable youth are connected by age 25 to institutions and support systems that will enable them to succeed throughout adulthood. YTFG accomplishes its work through the efforts of three work groups focused on: young people who struggling or not in schools, those in the juvenile justice system, and those in and transitioning from foster care.
The mission of the FCWG is to ensure that all youth in foster care have lifelong family, personal, and community connections and the opportunities and tools to achieve economic success and well being. FCWG members meet biannually and communicate regularly regarding how they can coordinate and leverage investments that: help to build the capacity of communities to effectively support young people transitioning from foster care; strengthen federal and state policies for youth leaving care; and raise public awareness of the needs of youth currently in or transitioning from foster care. Together, members of the FCWG are building a national movement of funders, community leaders, young people, policymakers, practitioners and researchers with a shared focus on supporting successful futures for youth who have experienced foster care.
National, regional, and local funders with an interest in supporting successful transitions for foster youth and working in coordination with other funders are welcomed and encouraged to participate. Ensuring that the voices of young people currently in and those who are alumni of foster care continue to be heard has been a longstanding principle of the FCWG. FCWG includes several members who are representatives from national and state alumni organizations as full partners in its work.
The Foster Care Work Group’s Strategies
The FCWG accomplishes its collaborative work through a number of key strategies. Through the FCWG, members have the capacity to:
- Share information about each member’s priorities and investments related to youth in transition from foster care;
- Learn from their peers about each member’s experiences, insights, and grantmaking.
- Develop common investment principles and practices that guide each foundation’s grantmaking in a particular area of work.
- Develop a coordinated policy strategy to guide efforts at the federal, state and community level to improve programs and services and to increase public investments in addressing the comprehensive needs of youth in and transitioning from foster care;
- Coordinate grantmaking on select priorities and projects in which one or more members strategically aligns or coordinates its investment based on others’ activities.
- Co-invest in which two or more foundations jointly fund an initiative or project.
The Foster Care Work Group’s Investment Areas
The FCWG is engaged in collaborative activities around three investment areas:
- Support Technical Assistance and Develop Tools to Build Local Capacity of states, communities, and community organizations to help them design and implement promising models and mobilize resources to sustain them.
- Support Research and Evaluation – to answer questions about the status of older youth in foster care, translate research for critical audiences, and highlight and share innovative approaches.
- Invest in Communications, Outreach and Advocacy – to raise awareness of the challenges faced by young adults leaving foster care; mobilize support for policies, programs, and system reforms; and encourage broad community engagement in helping alumni on the road to economic success.
The FCWG is staffed by Mainspring Consulting, a firm that works with foundation officers, policymakers, and state and community leaders to design effective programs and initiatives, leverage resources, and to create plans to move from good thinking to action.
“ The FCWG allows our members to share best practices, stay current on new issues and trends, identify new opportunities for collaboration, and deepen the impact and effectiveness of their work.” ”