Many abused and neglected children in state care never find a parent other than the Department for Children and Families (DCF), and ages 18-23 are critical years. Often lonely, fragile and challenged, youth may find themselves pushed out of foster or group homes when they turn 18. Trauma histories as well as cognitive and emotional challenges can make it difficult for them to find their way. It is not uncommon for youth in state care to become homeless when they turn 18. For these individuals, legal help is necessary to obtain support enabling them to graduate from high school, find resources for college or trade school, secure a safe place to live, and receive benefits for food, medical or mental health care.
The newly established Arnold Rutkin Scholars Fund supports intensive, focused legal advocacy to provide the safety and educational direction that allows a secure and productive future for youth aging out of care. Attorney Catherine Whelan, trustee of the Ruth and Hal Launders Charitable Trust, created the Fund to honor Arnold Rutkin, a long-time friend and colleague, and member of the Center for Children’s Advocacy Board of Directors. A well-attended celebration was held in Norwalk to honor Attorney Rutkin and the establishment of the Fund.