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Beyond Pregnancy Prevention: Preparing Youth for the Future

Summary: 
A federally-funded program in Madison Heights, Michigan, provides employment and educational opportunities to youth who age out of foster care.

Sixth installment of the “Self-Sufficiency Series: Solutions from the Field”

This series profiles local programs from across the country that are implementing “Principles of Economic Mobility” contained in President Trump’s Executive Order on Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.

Every young person deserves a bright future—including youth currently navigating the foster care system and those with troubled histories who have been displaced from their homes. Many of these youth have the good fortune of leaving the system to be reunited with their families or adopted.  But for the more than 18,000 foster care youth who age out of care at the age of 18 each year, homelessness and a lack of self-confidence, gainful employment and education are too often an unfortunate reality.

One federally-funded youth life skills program in Madison Heights, Michigan, is at the forefront of addressing these issues, providing entrepreneurship, employment and educational training opportunities to youth who are in foster care in or around the Madison Heights local community. 

For these youth to become successful in the diverse communities where they live, we must provide them with the resources they need to guide them into becoming self-sufficient, productive citizens, a goal of the President’s recent Executive Order on economic mobility. The Family and Youth Service Bureau’s Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (APP) Program is rising to that challenge by supporting organizations and communities across the nation with federal grants to help ensure our foster care youth have the knowledge, skills and support they need to make healthy decisions and successfully transition to adulthood.

Funded through the bureau’s Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, Bethany Christian Services (BCS), implements approaches from the evidence-based Teen Outreach Program curriculum to provide learning activities, workforce development, and stipend work experiences to foster care youth. The program teaches youth the basic life skills they need to achieve educational goals, employment training and entrepreneurial skills through a variety of activities, including career exploration, budgeting, resume building, pregnancy prevention education, and more.

Program participants are assigned case managers to assist them with taking the necessary steps to reach their greatest potential in life. Beyond pregnancy prevention education, BCS teaches youth invaluable lessons to foster self-sufficiency and build self-confidence.

BCS is just one of many examples of the bureau’s grantees who are on the ground preparing our youth for the future. To learn more about the APP Program’s state, tribal and community efforts, please visit the bureau’s website

Bethany Christian Services in Grand Rapid, MI is at the forefront of helping at-risk youth with educational and employment opportunities.

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