Turning 18 is a celebratory occasion for most American youth.
For their peers in the child welfare system, though, turning 18 is less about being able to buy tobacco and more about navigating the responsibilities of legal adulthood without the support of parents or guardians.
It also comes with a 20 percent chance of becoming homeless and a 25 percent chance of getting sucked into the criminal justice system before age 20.
The differences are stark, and while there are resources available for vulnerable youth that can help them avoid those bleak circumstances, they’re often difficult to find or even know about.
That’s why staffers at the Juvenile Law Center are building a web app that maps out where those resources can be found in Philadelphia. The project, called Youth Matters Philly, is designed with Philly youths and the individuals who work with those youths in mind.
According to Stoneleigh fellow Dominique Mikell, the app will allow users to:
- Search for resources and services such as shelters, housing, food banks and health care providers
- Find important information such as hours of operation and point of contact
- Get directions to resources
- Text resources to yourself or someone else
- Rate resources and services
The app reminds us strongly of Y.E.A.H Info Philadelphia, the resource map created by a Penn grad for youth experiencing homelessness.
Mikell said the team is in the final stages of debugging the app before it launches in May.