Child Welfare

Description of Population to be Served

graphic of a person at a crossroadsIn March 2001, adolescents ages 16 to 18 comprised 14.98% of the total population of children in the custody of the Department. There are 2,968 children in custody up to age 18 with 479 between the ages of 16 and 18. There are an additional 150 youth who are not yet 16 years of age as of the end of March 2001 who will become 16 years of age before the end of September 2001. Youth who "aged out" of foster care at age 18 and continued in care, on a voluntary basis, between the ages of 18 to 21 comprised 7.16% (229 youth) of the total population, a slight increase (.91%) from the previous year. The trend for youth 18 and older remaining in voluntary care has increased over the past 3 years. More youth, ages 18 up to the age of 21, remained in Departmental care this past year (229) than in the previous year (219). For those ages 16 to 18, females outnumbered males, 51% to 49%. For those youth 18 and older: 55% were males and 49% were females. NOTE: 90 youth left care between October 1, 2000 and March 31, 2001.

Of the youth in Departmental custody up to the age of 18 and including those who remained in voluntary care after the age of 18, 93.77% were Caucasian, 1.58% were African-American, 2.32% were Native-American, 1.58% were Hispanic, and .73% were Asian. These percentages were close to what they were in FFY-2000.

Of the total number of youth ages 16 up to the age of 21 in the Department's custody or continued voluntary care after the age of 18, the following data represents the percentages with regard to the lengths of time these youth have been in Departmental custody, or continued voluntary care (through March 31, 2001):

less than 6 months 5.06% between 5 & 7 years 16.66%
less than 1 year 6.32% between 7 & 10 years 13.60%
between 1 & 2 years 15.08% between 10 & 12 years 4.11%
between 2 & 3 years 13.60% between 12 & 15 years 3.58%
between 3 & 4 years 13.71% more than 15 years .73% between 4 & 5 years 8.43%

The majority of youth in the Department's custody and continued voluntary care, ages 16 up to the age of 21, during FFY-2000 lived either in a family foster home, group or residential program. Most foster homes are designated as "treatment," or "therapeutic" and are programs operated by non-profit agencies contracted by the Department to provide services to youth in care. Nearly all group and residential programs are in a contractual relationship with the Department. The following data reflects the percentages with regard to these youth's living situation, or status as of March 2001:

Foster home (non-therapeutic/therapeutic, foster parent adoptive/other 283 youth (33%)
Group home (includes residential/therapeutic & independent living 278 youth (32%)
Living independently (includes apartments, or post-secondary school 99youth (12%)
Institutionalized (includes correctional, medical, mental health facilities 81youth (10%)
Other living arrangements (includes shelters, runaway, self-placement 29youth (3%)
Parents, relatives, older siblings 88 youth (10%)

The above data includes an additional placement category of "parents, relatives, and older siblings. We now have some agencies in Maine who have developed an apartment living program as an extension of their foster and group care program services. More of our older youth in care are being referred to these programs now that they are available. Some of our older youth in care are living in an apartment as arranged with a private landlord. There are currently approximately 60 older youth in voluntary extended care ages 18 up to the age of 21 who are successfully living in their own apartment outside of any agency.

None of the youth, ages 16 up to the age of 21, were married as of March 2001. 23 youth between the ages of 16 and up to the age of 21 had children. This includes female as well as male parents. Some young mothers lived with the father of their child, a man who was not the child's father, or on their own with their child. Eleven mothers lived with their child in their foster home, or group home. Ten children were living with their mothers in an apartment, with the parents of the child's father, or with a relative of their own family. Six children were in Departmental custody and 2 children were legally freed for adoption.

During the past year, the Department's six Life Skills Caseworkers provided Youth Transition program services to 188 youth ages 16 to 18. They provided Youth Transition program services to an additional 152 youth in voluntary extended care between the ages of 18 and up to the age of 21. Another 130 to 140 youth were provided life skills services in transitional independent living programs, treatment foster home programs, group home programs, or residential programs. 274 youth who were "aging out" of foster care at age 18 signed the Department's Voluntary Extended Care Agreement ("V9") for purposes of completing high school, a GED, or going on to a post-secondary educational program. 152 of those youth on the V9 Agreement received services from a Life Skills Caseworker. 340 total youth between the ages of 16 and up to the age of 21 received services from a Life Skills Caseworker during the past year. The following data represents the number of youth, by age groups, known to have received some form of independent living program services over the past year:

between age 20 and 21 18 youth
between age 19 and 20 26 youth
between age 18 and 19 48 youth
between age 17 and 18 91 youth (214 total youth were in this age category)
between age 16 and 17 86 youth (250 total youth were in this age category)
between age 15 and 16 71 youth (250 total youth were in this age category)

Ages 15+ to age 18 youth, known to have received some form of Youth Transition program services, represent 35% of the total population of youth in that age group over the past year. This represents a 1% increase over the previous year. There was a significant increase in the number of youth in Departmental custody that became eligible for Youth Transition program services during the past year. We are projecting that at least 35% of youth in this age group will receive Youth Transition program services during the coming year. With the same number of Life Skills staff available, we will be working to maintain at least the same level of services for FFY's 2001-2004.