SaySo is excited to be one of the main stakeholders in North Carolina partnering with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. SaySo has a dedicated alumni staff co-chairing the project’s design team and at least five other alumni participating in strategic think tank sessions.
On April 29, 2019, North Carolina partners joined the Jim Casey Initiative to identify current priorities for child welfare stakeholders in North Carolina and explore future opportunities for partnership. By the end of this meeting, those present had agreed to collectively develop a vision and strategy by July 1, 2020 for achieving equitable results for older NC youth who have experienced foster care.
To date, SaySo members and other participants have (1) learned about this Jim Casey initiative and its contributions to equitable results for older youth, (2) identified priorities for North Carolina, and (3) explored opportunities for re-establishing a Jim Casey site lead agency in North Carolina.
Founded in 2001, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative works to ensure that young people ages 14 to 26 in the United States who have spent at least one day in foster care after their 14th birthday have the resources, relationships, and opportunities to achieve well-being and success. The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative does this by focusing on four key indicators:
1. Permanence. Young people are connected to caring, supportive adults. This is critical to ending the pipeline of youth exiting foster care without the permanent relationships that can help them navigate adulthood.
2. Stable Housing. Young people have a safe place to live that they can call their own. Housing stability is a fundamental need and contributes to educational attainment, gainful employment, and feelings of safety and security.
3. Education Success and Economic Security. Young people earn a high school diploma and postsecondary credentials, have access to work opportunities, and can build financial management skills.
4. Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting Support. Young people have the tools and skills needed to make informed decisions about parenthood, while also ensuring that those who are expecting or parenting have the resources, opportunities, and support needed for the well-being of themselves and their children.
To learn more, visit the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.
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SaySo (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out), is a statewide, North Carolina-based association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are or have been in out-of-home care. This includes all types of substitute care, including foster care, group homes, and mental health placements.
“To work to improve the substitute care system by educating the community, speaking out about needed changes, and providing support to youth who are or have been in substitute care.”
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