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Making Reunification Possible for Older Youth

By Jennifer Pokempner, Juvenile Law Center; Jennifer Rodriguez, Youth Law Center, | June 29, 2018

Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Dominique Mikell, Jennifer Pokempner (Juvenile Law Center), and Jennifer Rodriguez (Youth Law Center) celebrate Reunification Month by discussing the importance of supporting safe and sustainable ways for separated, older youth to reunite with their families.

This month is Reunification Month—a good time to celebrate family and redouble our efforts to make it possible for more families to be supported in achieving permanency through reunification. As an organization that focuses on older youth, Juvenile Law Center is interested in supporting and expanding ways that safe and sustainable reunification can occur for older youth, including youth who are just entering or at risk of entering the foster care system and young people who have been in care for some period of time, even years. This is the right thing to do because we know achieving permanency will improve transition outcomes, but it is also urgent given the demographics of the child welfare system: in 2016, for example, 22% of youth who entered foster care were age 13 or older.

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