“We really want to hear what you have to say, while you’ve been in foster care and transitioning out of care, what your successes and challenges are, so we can find out better ways to help you.”
— RENEE GARNETT
M.Ed. Virginia Department of Social Services Independent Living Program Specialist
More questions? Why should I bother?
Your opinion matters. You’re the one who’s been in foster care and knows what it’s really like. The National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) survey is your chance to tell us what you know. It’s your opportunity to say whether the foster care system is working or not working.
If you tell us your experiences, you’ll help us make a difference for you and other youth in foster care.You can have an impact on the Independent Living Program and the types of services youth get in foster care and to help them as they transition out. You could change lives, including your own.
Only about 700-800 youth are eligible to take the NYTD survey in Virginia so you are special. The people who run the system really want to hear what you have to say.
What kind of questions?
It’s not a test and you won’t be graded. You’ll be asked if you have enough money, if you’ve been homeless, have been able to continue your education, if you have health care and what your plans are for the future. A very important question will be whether you have positive connections with adults. In other words, the survey will let us know if Independent Living is working for you and, if not, why not.
What if they don’t like what I have to say?
Don’t worry. The information you provide is private and the goal is to find out both the good and the bad about foster care and Independent Living.
How many times will I take the survey?
If you want your answers to count, you will take the survey three times:
- on or within 45 days after your 17th birthday.
- on or around age 19.
- on your 21st birthday.
What if I am moving around after I age out?
We know that your living situation may be changing after you age out of care. Keep your worker posted on where you are living — whether it’s with a friend, family or on your own. Just shoot them a short email or text message about where you are and how you can be contacted. If you keep in touch, we can keep helping you … and you’ll be able to tell us how it’s going on the survey.
What are my next steps?
- When you’re about to turn 17, get in touch with your Independent Living worker to register for the survey.
- Always make sure your IL worker has your updated contact information, even after you leave foster care. This also helps them keep you up to date on changes in the law that might help you.