Wal-Mart Foundation Awards $1.6 Million to Support Teenage Foster Youth
July 21, 2009 — The Seattle-based National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association has announced a $1.6 million grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation to help address the challenges faced by older foster youth.
The grant enables National CASA to launch its Fostering Futures program, which is designed to engage some seventy thousand volunteers from CASA and the Guardian ad Litem program as advocates for and advisors to foster youth ages 13 to 21. In addition, the grant will enable the organizations to recruit, train, and retain volunteers to help youth develop specific transition plans, identify supportive adult connections, and thrive after they transition out of foster care.
Each year, an estimated twenty-five thousand young people between the ages of 18 and 21 are legally required to "age out" of the foster care system. Those who leave the system without a life plan or other preparations are at great risk of homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, criminal involvement, and mental health issues.
"In all of our giving efforts, we strive to meet the needs of underserved populations," said Margaret McKenna, Wal-Mart Foundation president. "Our support of National CASA's Fostering Futures program reinforces that commitment by expanding the resources necessary to help foster youth become successful adults."
- Margaret McKenna