Foster Youth Advocacy Center

  • The Foster Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) is a multidisciplinary legal clinic staffed by Capital University Law School faculty, National Center for Adoption Law & Policy staff attorneys, and law and social work students. The FYAC team responds to the needs of emancipating foster youth with information, legal counseling, and representation in areas such as self-advocacy, access to medical coverage, housing disputes, understanding educational rights and processes, money and credit management skills, identity theft, and criminal records management. The clients FYAC serves are an especially vulnerable population – many are homeless, have aged out of foster care, and/or are victims of crime.

    FYAC helps these vulnerable youth succeed in a number of ways, including:

    • Delinquency/Crime Prevention: Studies have found that foster youth are four times more likely to become delinquent than non-foster youth; one study found that 64% of the youth studied had been arrested and 60% reported time in jail or detention. FYAC provides services and advocacy that helps foster teens avoid delinquency, including assistance with access to special educational services for youth with behavioral issues. 
    • Avoidance of Homelessness and Poverty: 50% of U.S. foster youth are homeless within the first 18 months after emancipation; 27% of the homeless people in the U.S. have been in foster care. Over half the youth who age out of care will live in poverty. These outcomes are directly connected to the lack of family and community network supports typically available to kids who are not in foster care. FYAC offers counseling and resources for life-planning and decision-making to help foster youth avoid homelessness and poverty and provides linkage to housing and other services.
    • Prevention of Involvement with Public Welfare Systems: By age 25, nearly all young women who have aged out of the foster care system have children of their own and most are single parents with low incomes. Nearly all youth who graduate from foster care spend much of their adulthood unemployed or marginally employed. The majority of these youth will rely on public assistance at some point, usually within a few years after leaving foster care. With the type of support, resources, and advocacy aimed at access to higher education, jobs, and housing FYAC provides, youth stand a much better chance of living independently of public assistance.
    • Expanded, Qualified Workforce: Employment statistics for former foster youth are dismal. A recent study revealed that over half of former youth from three states were unemployed during the entire four quarters of the study, and that those who were employed had mean earnings below the poverty level. FYAC helps youth break this cycle of unemployment and enhance their chances to be part of Ohio’s workforce through services and counseling aimed at high school success and access to higher education and/or job training.
    • Overcoming Legal Obstacles to Independent Living: Our youth clients come to us with a variety of legal and independent living challenges, including credit issues resulting from identity theft, barriers to employment and higher education resulting from juvenile delinquency records, and difficulty in navigating educational, health, housing, and healthcare processes and systems. FYAC staff and students assist youth in resolving these issues, offering a one-stop shop for youth in transition. FYAC staff also provide group training to foster youth in independent living programs, focusing on critical issues such as credit management and access to higher education. 

    In addition to client-based, services, FYAC offers collaborative, multidisciplinary trainings for judges, attorneys, caseworkers, and agency personnel that promote collaborative decision-making aimed at helping foster youth successfully transition from care.

    For more information about the Foster Youth Advocacy Center, call 614-236-6730, or visit the Foster Youth Advocacy Center website