What Is Youth Transition?

The transition from youth to adulthood is critical for all young people, but it is especially important for those with disabilities. Transition is, according to the U.S. Department of Labor,

the period of time when adolescents are moving into adulthood and are often concerned with planning for postsecondary education, careers, health care, financial benefits, housing, and more…. Ideally, during the transition years, youth acquire knowledge and learn skills they will need to maximize their independence and self-sufficiency in their communities. This process may involve accessing educational and employment opportunities including career and technical education, obtaining employment related services and supports, finding stable housing, and acquiring health insurance coverage, transitioning from pediatric to adult health care, financial aid, and other supports and services to assist in their future planning and development towards adulthood.

Today, there are services available to youth that were not in place until relatively recently. There are various programs offered by the federal government through the U.S. Department of Labor to facilitate this transition for today’s disabled youth:

Resources for Transitioning Youth
and Their Families

Are you a transitioning youth with disabilities? Discover the benefits of tools provided by a number of online resources. These programs are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to maximize your independence and self-sufficiency in your community. Through career and technical education, employment services and supports, stable housing opportunities, health insurance coverage, and financial aid, these sites are here to support your future planning and development towards adulthood. It is our hope that the tools and resources we present you with here will help you thrive in your chosen career path.

8 Financial Tips for Young Adults (investopedia.com) – The following tips are discussed:

  1. Pay With Cash, Not Credit
  2. Educate Yourself
  3. Learn to Budget
  4. Start an Emergency Fund
  5. Save for Retirement Now
  6. Monitor Your Taxes
  7. Guard Your Health
  8. Protect Your Wealth

Transition Advocacy for Young Adults (The ArcJC) – This branch the the national nonprofit,The Arc, provides each youth an advocate who supports “both the young adult and their family members as they develop the skills and knowledge for success.” The advocate stays with the youth until their services are no longer needed.

The Arc Massachusetts provides various resources where you can find options allowing you to view resources based on either topic or age categories.

Resources To Assist Youth With the Transition To A Successful Adulthood (ssa.gov/redbook) – The U.S. Social Security Administration provides a number of resources to help a transitioning young person:

  • Employment Supports/National and Community Resources
  • Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Accounts
  • AmeriCorps
  • American Job Centers
  • Child Welfare Information Gateway (support services for youth in transition: youth with disabilities)
  • Continued Payment Under Vocational Rehabilitation or Similar Programs
  • Foster Care Transition Toolkit
  • Get to Where You Want to Go
  • Grants, Scholarship, Fellowships, and Gifts
  • Hands on Banking/ El futuro en tus manos®
  • Health Insurance For Children
  • Helping Young People with Disabilities Successfully Transition to Adulthood
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA)
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • Infographic:  Medicaid and Children And Youth With Special Health Care Needs
  • Job Corps

Resources for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood (childwelfare.gov) –

Transitioning into adulthood can be a strenuous time, but as you move from out-of-home care into self-sufficiency, having the right resources can make the transition less challenging. Use these resources to learn about life skills, education, employment, finances, and other information to help you as you transition out of foster care and on to independence.

The following are the resources provided by this site:


Pacer’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment (pacer.org) – This site provides relevant information and resources to parents, youth, and professionals through a variety of services:

  • A website that inspires, educates, and engages families around transition.
  • Technical assistance and training to professionals on best practices for engaging families, including those who are underserved.
  • In-person and online workshops for parents of youth on topics such as assistive technology, postsecondary supports, and finding work in the community.

Resources can help adolescents transition into adulthood. (Kenndy Krieger Institute) – The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities provides resources that “will help ensure your child is well-prepared and has a seamless transition into their next step in life.” These resources deal with 

  • Health
  • Post-secondary education
  • Planning for adulthood

Resources To Assist Youth With the Transition To A Successful Adulthood (ssa.gov/redbook) – continued:

  • MyMoney.gov
  • Neighborhood Navigator Tool
  • Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS)
  • Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)
  • Section 504
  • SSI Eligibility for Students Temporarily Studying Abroad
  • State Health Programs and Services
  • State’s Parent Center
  • State’s Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (Mass Rehab)
  • Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE)
  • Think College
  • What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18
  • Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Projects
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-Eligible Training Programs
  • Youth.gov
  • YouthBuild
  • Youth in Transition: Youth Development and Leadership
  • Youth Program Finder

Financial Help & Resources for Foster Youth “Aging Out” (incharge.org) – The statistics are sad. Of all the young people who age out of foster care at the age of 18, every year 23,000 must leave their foster home because they no longer qualify for government support. They age out because no one adopt them. Most are not ready to be on their own. Available extended foster care services vary from one state to the next. Tool Kits help.

Other resources for foster children

  • Get a bank account (checking and savings) before moving out
  • Create a budget
  • Housing and subsidized housing 
  • Medicaid (up to age 26) – contact the State Medicaid Office
  • Education
  • Help from foster parents
  • Help Transitioning into Financial Adulthood
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