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When you are 18, you are a legal adult and can decide whether or not to stay in DCF care. Well before your 18th birthday, you should start talking to your social worker and lawyer about planning your next steps. They will work with you to create a transition plan. Your plan must include where you will live and your plans to support yourself. Your lawyer can help you negotiate with DCF about what the transition plan includes. The judge must review and decide whether to agree to this transition plan. If you decide not to continue in DCF care, you will be better off if you participate in transition planning.You don't have to accept or follow the plan after your case closes, but it will benefit you to know what resources are available.
DCF has the Discharge Support Program to help young people who plan to leave DCF care. DCF offices have an Adolescent Outreach Worker or Outreach Supervisor to help you find the services you need, even if you do not plan to be in DCF care after you turn 18.
The Discharge Support Program at DCF can provide you with:
As long as you were in DCF care when you turned 18, you can work with an Adolescent Outreach Worker and receive help until age 21. You can try to sign back on with DCF if you are still under 21. For more information on signing on with DCF, see “TURNING 18.”
Stay connected with other former foster youth through the Massachusetts Network of Foster Care Alumni (MassNFCA)! You can never have too many connections on your road to success. Behind every success story, there stands at least one amazing person and several extraordinary opportunities.
You’re an alum of foster care if:
MassNFCA members welcome former foster kids and friends of foster care! Friends of foster care are people that care about foster youth. Join alumni and friends of foster care in building a network of former foster youth friends for support and opportunities for alumni of all ages. Go to: www.MassNFCA.org for more details. Connect with us on Facebook/Twitter.