FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2008
Contact: Mary Christine Reed, Attorney
Cynthia Martinez, Communications Director
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas Foster Youth Justice Project (FYJP) has released a new comprehensive guide to help young adults leaving the foster care system adjust to living on their own.
The Guide For Those ‘Aging Out’ of Foster Care in Texas contains information related to a youth’s legal rights while they are in foster care and as an adult. It covers topics ranging from financial aid for college to finding a job, getting married, securing good credit, and getting health care. It is available for free both online and in print. The guide was made possible due to the work of Houston law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
“Teenagers in foster care and young adults who have recently aged out of those programs rarely have the resources, knowledge, or support to help them navigate through the legal system,” said FYJP director and attorney Mary Christine Reed. “The guide is meant to serve as a resource during their transition.”
The FYJP estimates that more than 9,000 Texas youth are without parental support in the foster care system as they move into adulthood. High caseloads and limitations on ad litem resources often prevent their voices from being heard in the legal system.
“There is a serious gap in the legal system when it comes to foster youth,” added Reed. “It is important that they know that we are here to help.”
To apply for legal help, get a copy of the guide, or get more information on legal rights, foster youth can call 1-877-313-3688 or visit http://www.texasfosteryouth.org.
The FYJP provides free legal assistance to current and former foster youth across Texas and helps them understand their legal rights. The program, a special project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA), is funded by the Texas Supreme Court’s Permanent Judicial Commission For Children, Youth & Families and is in its second year of operation.
Established in 1970, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) is a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to low-income and disadvantaged clients in a 68-county service area. TRLA’s mission is to promote the dignity, self-sufficiency, safety and stability of low-income Texas residents by providing high-quality legal assistance and related educational services.