Written by Grace Park, Family Engagement VISTA 

Successfully transitioning into adulthood isn’t easy. Older youth need the guidance and support to set up a life of independence. Older youth in the foster care system may find the transition especially challenging when permanent homes and reliable adults aren’t part of the everyday picture. All older youth should feel prepared and ready to pursue their educational and career goals without worrying about how they will access their most basic needs, such as health and housing.

To assist older youth with successfully transitioning out of the foster care system, the Department of Human Services has gathered a list of resources available to them in the Philadelphia area:


  • School District of Philadelphia’s Educational Options Program
    A program designed to allow adults to earn credits towards a high school diploma.
  • The Office of Children and Families’ Adult Education & Literacy Services
    Free adult education classes for learners 16 and older. Course offerings include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), GED or HiSET preparation, and more.

College Education

  • The Field Center’s Campus Programming Directory for Foster YouthA directory on institutional supports and programs that can assist current and former foster youth in higher education.
  • Juvenile Law Center’s Higher Education Guide
    An informational guide for advocates and supporters of youth in the child welfare system about how to leverage key resources available to youth with experience in foster care in Pennsylvania.
  • PHEAA’s Fostering Independence Tuition Waiver Program
    A program which provides a waiver for tuition and mandatory fees charged by most postsecondary institutions located in Pennsylvania for youth who are or were in foster care.
  • Community College of Philadelphia’s Octavius Catto Scholarship
    A program that addresses obstacles like tuition and fees as well as burdens that hit many Philadelphians, including costs associated with food, transportation and books.


  • Pennsylvania Department of Labor’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
    Vocational rehabilitation services to help persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, or maintain employment.
  • Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady
    A citywide effort to address the skills gap by convening partners, employers, leaders of youth-serving systems and youth to build a coordinated approach to preparing young people for future employment.

Extended Foster Care and Re-Entry


Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse

  • Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities’ 24-Hour Suicide Crisis and Intervention
    A 24-hour telephone hotline to assist people and their families dealing with behavioral health emergencies: (215) 685-6440
  • Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities’ Addiction Services
    Addiction services and supports that are individualized, built with and around each person and family.


  • City of Philadelphia’s Office of Homeless Services
    A website on Philly’s homeless housing system, including information about why people are homeless, how many, and what strategies exist to combat homelessness.
  • Department of Human Services’ Youth Rental Assistance and Support Program
    A program that provides rapid rental assistance and housing support to 60 youth per year who are facing homelessness due to obstacles, such as job loss or unresolved college housing.
  • Turning Points for Children’s Housing Prep
    An educational program that serves 18-22 year olds in need of housing assistance. Youth receive 3 months rent and security deposit after successful completion of the program.

Life Skills

  • Achieving Independence Center
    A support center dedicated to providing real life tools for youth who want to make an investment in their future. Youth work with AIC Coaches to create a customized service plan that will help them to achieve their goals.
  • E3 Services
    Services that provide critical academic skills and employment readiness training to 16 to 24-year-olds in Philadelphia who are out of school or work. E3 also functions as an access point for re-engagement services in Philadelphia.
  • LifeSet
    A transition program for young adults, ages 17-23, who are leaving the foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems, or who would otherwise find themselves without the necessary skills and resources to live successfully at this critical junction in their young lives.


  • Attic Youth Center
    An organization aiming to reduce the isolation felt by LGBTQ youth by providing a sense of community and developing programs and services to counteract the prejudice and oppression that LGBTQ youth often face.
  • Project Home’s Gloria Casarez Residence
    LGBTQ-friendly affordable homes for young adults (ages 18-23 at entry) who are homeless, have experienced homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, including those aging out of foster care.
  • Valley Youth House’s Host Homes
    Homes providing LGBTQ+ young persons, ages 18-25, who are experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia with a safe, welcoming, and affirming private and dedicated space for 1-6 months.

Teen Parents

More Youth Resources

Make sure to check out these other programs for teens and young adults.