The increasing focus on transition age youth (TAY), ages 16–24, is important and necessary. TAY are navigating the developmental years of growing out of childhood and into adulthood. Brain development in TAY is incomplete, leading to limitations in decision making, impulsivity, risk taking, and emotion regulation. These years are important for individuation and development of an autonomous self. These are individuals on whom we should all be focused to be able to provide support, care, and direction as they navigate early adulthood.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Caring for teenagers is oftentimes the ride of a lifetime! They are growing and developing into even more independent people, while at the same time still looking for guidance and direction. It can be challenging to know how to support your teen, in the midst of this often tumultuous stage of development. But while challenging, there is nothing quite like seeing them succeed at something they have worked really hard to earn. And recently, we got to celebrate some of our youth’s educational success. It’s been a humbling experience to see all of these youths’ hard work pay off. And we are so grateful for support they have all received along their way--the parents, foster parents, social workers, friends, family, teachers, counselors and other adults who have been championing them on and providing them the right amount of guidance, so they were able to reach their goals.
This month, the Transitional Age Youth-Financial Assistance Program (TAY-FAP) is celebrating its five year anniversary with a Resolution from the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and a celebratory awareness event at FCNI.
Entering into adulthood, for most, is an exciting rite of passage that bears with it opportunities to try out new levels of responsibility, safely explore increased levels of independence and individuate from supportive parents. For former foster youth, the transition into adulthood, or more accurately termed emancipation from care, is generally filled with increased risks, loss of support and financial peril, with very limited prospects for pursuing post-secondary education.