Jean Strout

  • Hosted by Support Center for Child Advocates
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Jean provided legal assistance in child welfare, housing, public benefits, and related legal matters to current and former foster youth ages 18 – 21 through walk-in clinics and referrals from Philadelphia resource centers through the Representing Youth Transitioning to Adulthood Project (RYTA).

When young people leave the child welfare system, they are cut off from resources they have relied on for years. Former foster youth struggle to live independently and achieve their goals: by age 24, only one in four has a job, and less than 3% graduate college by age 25. Between one-third and one-fifth of youth who age out of foster care will become homeless. These youth have multiple needs, yet there are no entities that provide holistic advocacy. RYTA offers youth one place to address all of their legal barriers to stability and independence, with a focus on assisting youth in reentering the child welfare system after age 18.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Jean has:

  • Represented 32 youth current and former foster youth in dependency court and civil legal services
  • Provided 40 current and former foster youth with brief legal advice and/or referrals
  • Conducted more than 30 walk-in legal clinics at Philadelphia resource centers
  • Participated in training more than 200 attorneys and service providers on working with older youth in the child welfare system
  • Collaborated with more than a dozen city agencies and community partners to improve laws and policies affecting older foster youth

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Jean plans to:

  • Continue the work of RYTA at Support Center for Child Advocates through a new source of funding
  • Expand the number of clients served by the project
  • Develop and disseminate training materials on working with older youth in the child welfare system
  • Progress in efforts for policy change and expanded resources initiated during the Fellowship

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