Can I get a job if I am younger than 18 and in foster care?

Yes. If you are under 18 you can work but you have to first get a work permit just like kids who aren't in foster care. To get a permit you must fill out an application called Employment Permit application for 14 - 17 Year Olds. You can download this application from or get one from your school. All the steps for completing this application can be found on the same website under the Massachusetts Guide for Working Teems, page 4. Talk to your school counselor about getting the work permit.

Can I keep all the money I earn from my job while I am in DCF custody?

Yes. All the money you make is yours. As soon as you get a job, you should also talk to your social worker about opening your own bank account.

How can I look for a job?

  • Apply at your local grocery store or retail stores.
  • Talk to your friends who have jobs, or to neighbors, teachers, your guidance counselor etc.
  • Call your social worker or the Adolescent Outreach Worker in the DCF office near you (see pp. 38 - 41).
  • Go to the Career Center in your area. They have job listings, career counseling services, job search workshops, workforce readiness training, information about getting money for job training, and other employment-related services. Call the Division of Career Services for more information and to find the Career Center near you: 617-626-5300.
  • You can also look them up online at:

Consider the following four programs to help you. Ask your social worker for more information or look these up online:

  1. Foster Skills gives you information about participating in a workforce development program that measures your skills and helps you gain improved access to the workforce. It is exclusively focused on empowering foster youth to beat the odds, follow your dreams and become successful productive citizens by giving you the skills you need for gainful employment. For more detailed information see:
  2. Job Corps Program is a free career training and education program for young adults age 16 through 24. The goal of Job Corps is to teach job skills. Call 1-800-733-JOBS or 617-788-0186.
  3. YouthBuild is an education, job training, housing, and community service program for young adults age 16 through 24. This program can help you get your high school diploma or GED while teaching you carpentry and other construction skills. Call 617-445-8887.
  4. YouthWorks is a program for youth who are between the ages of 14 and 21. This program was developed to help youth who are court involved. See:

Can I get money from the state if I lose my job?

You may be able to get money from the state, called Unemployment Benefits, if you meet certain requirements. You can get more information at

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