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Foster system

Foster system

Have you been in the foster-care system?

If you've ever been in foster care, you may qualify for help finding a home, paying for school, and more. Check out the information and links below to learn more.


Image of young person

“I’ve been in the foster system myself. After drugs, prostitution, I was homeless, no job, no car. Then I got pregnant. I saw a flyer and decided I’d try a program. It was very scary. They helped with job training and how to be myself, how to be a professional in the world. Now I have three jobs, a car, and I have a home. It’s amazing. My goal is to own a group home. And I will do so. There are many people, teenagers, kids, who need me.”

See Cat's story

Find a home

If you've left or aged out of foster care, you might find help getting a place to live from one of the programs below. Use the links to find contact information, or speak with a caseworker or counselor to see if you qualify.

  • Transitional Living Program . You may qualify for housing and other services under this program. Select your state to find a list of websites and phones numbers for programs in your area.
  • Foster system re-entry . If you're under 21 and need a home, you may be able to re-enter foster care. Contact your local agency that oversees the foster care system.
  • Public Housing . You might qualify for low-rent public housing. Enter your address on the public housing map to locate contact information for services near you. When you contact someone, also ask them if you qualify for a Family Unification Program (FUP) voucher for foster youth (if you are between 18 and 21 and left foster care after age 16, you may).
  • Homeless resources . If you need immediate help, you can use the public housing map look up homeless services in your area.

Finish high school

You have the right to finish high school at the same school that you started it. Federal funding is available to pay for your transportation to school. Talk to your caseworker or contact your local child welfare or education agency if you have any concerns.

Find more tips to help you finish high school.

Pay for college or training programs

There are programs to help foster youth pay for school. Follow the links to see if you qualify and how to apply.

  • Foster parents or legal guardians are NOT considered parents when you’re applying for financial aid. So you don’t list their income or other information on the FAFSA.
  • You are considered independent if you were ever deemed a ward of the court after age 13.

Protect your identity

Did you know you can get a free credit report in order to make sure that your identity hasn’t been stolen?  It’s a good idea to check your report and learn what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.

Visit work documents to learn more about getting copies of personal identification documents like your social security card or birth certificate. If you have a caseworker, lawyer, guardian, or other trusted adult, ask for their help. You can also contact someone in your local department of social services.