Request an Award Application


The 2018 AOI National Awards Program application can be requested between January 1, 2018 and February 28, 2018.



Purpose Statement:
The AOI National Awards Program provides a platform for identifying and recognizing excellence and innovation in strategies that help youth age out of foster care and into independence successfully.

Judging Process and Timeline:

  • The 2018 AOI National Awards Program application window opens on Monday, January 1, 2018.
  • All applications must be submitted by end of day Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
  • All applications will be evaluated and finalists will be selected by a panel of eight foster care experts and practitioners.
  • Award winners will be notified by telephone first, and then announced publicly in August, 2018.
  • The award winner strategy papers will be written between August and December, 2018.
  • Strategy papers will be made available on the AOI website as soon as all papers are written and approved by AOI.


Program: When we refer to a “program,” we are referring to a set of services or strategies being implemented to achieve a specific outcome for youth. If you do not refer to your services or strategies as a “program,” that’s okay – we chose this term only to simplify the application.

Awards Program Eligibility:
The following are the eligibility requirements to apply for an award:

  • To be eligible to participate in the AOI Awards program, the applicant must be:
    • a representative of an organization (nonprofit, social enterprise, or agency) that provides services for youth aging out of foster care.
  • To apply in 2018, programs/services/strategies must have been implemented with current or former foster youth for at least two years, including all of 2016 and 2017. (This time frame allows for both the implementation of the applicant’s program, as well as sufficient time to determine if the program has been successful.)
  • Applicants must be duly employed by the organization which they represent in the application(s) at the time the application is submitted.
  • Organizations or agencies with which the judges participating in the 2018 AOI National Awards Program are affiliated are not eligible to apply for awards in 2018. However, they may apply for awards in future years given they do not have a representative from the organization or agency on the panel of judges.
  • If not selected for an AOI Award in 2018, applicants may update and resubmit their application in subsequent years.

Awards Program Categories:
There are four award categories, with two awards being given out in each category:

  • Education
    • Award for an organization: Preparing youth to complete their education before aging out
    • Award for an organization: Supporting youth after they age out by helping them complete their education
  • Employment
    • Award for an organization: Preparing youth to find steady employment before aging out
    • Award for an organization: Supporting youth after they age out by helping them find steady employment
  • Housing
    • Award for an organization: Preparing youth to acquire reliable housing before aging out
    • Award for an organization: Supporting youth after they age out by helping them acquire reliable housing
  • Relationships
    • Award for an organization: Preparing youth to build relationships with supportive adults before aging out
    • Award for an organization: Supporting youth after they age out by helping them build relationships with supportive adults
  • After all applications are submitted, we must have received at least three (3) applications in each of the categories listed above in order to select a winner in that category. If we do not receive at least three applications for any of these categories by the end of the application window, then we will not give out an award in that category in the current award year.
  • Applicants who represent organizations may apply for an award in any of the category/subcategory combinations.
  • Each application must focus on one category and sub-category (for example, an application can only focus on Housing Preparation, not Housing Preparation and Support).
  • You may submit more than one application if you have a program that addresses more than one category, or if you run more than one program that address different categories.
  • If you apply for an award in more than one category and can demonstrate that the program represented in one category directly supports a program in another category, there will be space in each application to provide an explanation of that crossover impact.
  • If you apply for an award in all four categories, your applications will also be considered for a special award that recognizes holistic, integrated services to help foster youth transition to independence successfully.
  • If you win an award, you may not submit an award application for the same program in the same category/sub-category in any subsequent year.

Awards Program Rules:

  • Applications must be submitted by the end of the day on February 28, 2018.
    • This means that all email submissions must be dated as being sent by 11:59 p.m. on 02/28/18 (Eastern Time).
    • Submissions sent by regular mail must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on 02/28/18 (Eastern Time).
  • Applicants may not alter the application questions.
  • To maintain anonymity of minor foster youth, all identifying references in any application materials are to be removed prior to submission.
  • By submitting an application, you agree to receive any and all emails from Aging Out Institute regarding the AOI National Awards Program.
  • All entries and materials submitted will become the property of Aging Out Institute and cannot be returned. The applicant retains copyright of the entry. However, AOI is granted the non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide rights to publish, use, distribute and display the entry, in whole or in part, and to use the entrant’s name and likeness, in all print and non-print media and formats and by all means and technologies now known or hereafter developed, including use for promotional purposes. (For example, if an applicant wins an award, the content of the application submission materials will be utilized by AOI to develop a “strategy paper” describing the winner’s program in detail.)
  • Incomplete applications will have no opportunity for re-submission.
  • If you need to withdraw an entry, please contact AOI at
  • Award winners will be required to sign a Release and Affidavit of Eligibility, which will be sent to all winners in August, 2018.
  • Recipients of awards presented by AOI are allowed to display the awards that they have won from AOI. All display or advertisement of such awards must be truthful and may not be misleading, inaccurate, or ambiguous. Specifically, but without limitation, the recipients and organizations or agencies that employ individual recipients must abide by the following rules.
    • Any winner that displays or advertises an AOI award must correctly identify the recipient of the award, and if the recipient is an individual employee of the organization/agency, the organization/agency must state so.
    • If the award recipient is an individual such as a caregiver, the award trophy belongs to the individual, not the organization/agency that employs him/her/them.
    • All awards must be displayed or advertised with the correct name of the award.
    • The entity that displays the award must state conspicuously: the year in which the award was won, or that the recipient is a “past recipient” of the award.
    • Any display or advertisement of the AOI award may not include any statement or implication of AOI’s approval or sponsorship of the entity displaying the award or any other entity, other than the fact that the award was presented by AOI to the recipient.
    • The award winner may display AOI’s logo in connection with displaying or advertising the award given the winner utilizes the logo specifically designed for award winners.
    • No entity may alter the appearance of the award itself or any reproduction of the award for display purposes.
    • No award may be duplicated or copied except by photographic means and then only for inclusion in advertising the award.
  • Any entry that fails to follow the awards program rules will be disqualified from the competition.

Submitting Your Application:

  • Applications must be submitted by the end of the day on February 28, 2018. This means that all email submissions must be dated as being sent by 11:59 p.m. on 02/28/18 (Eastern Time). Submissions sent by regular mail must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on 02/28/18 (Eastern Time).
  • Unique Tracking Number: Each application will be assigned a unique tracking number that will be used to identify all submitted documents, which includes the application itself and any additional supporting materials you submit. Your assigned tracking number will already be on your application when you receive it. You will be required to put the tracking number somewhere on the front page of all supporting materials.
  • Additional Supporting Materials: If there are supporting materials that you would like to submit to help represent the information you provided in your application, such as brochures, workbooks, posters, etc., please feel free to send them. We prefer that you scan the materials and send them digitally as our judges are located throughout the U.S. and shipping hard-copy materials to them is not as efficient as sharing them electronically. However, if your supporting documentation is significantly large in size or number of pages and would be particularly difficult to scan, we would be willing to receive them through the mail. Please see instructions for hard-copy submissions below.
  • Digital Submission Details: When everything is ready and you have your unique tracking number added to all your documents, send a digital copy of your award application and all supporting materials. Please go to and send them to  Do not send the application and supporting materials directly through email.
  • Hard Copy Submission Details: Please only send a hard copy application packet (application and supporting materials) if your supporting materials are difficult to transfer into digital format, such as being too large in size, too many pages, etc. When everything is ready and you have your unique tracking number added to all your supporting materials, please ship three (3) hard copy sets of your award application and all supporting materials to the address provided on the application. Please also submit one (1) digital copy of the application only using the digital submission instructions above, which will let us know to expect additional hard copy materials in the mail. Applicants who submit a hard copy application packet will be invoiced for the shipping costs to send the materials to the judges for the category (categories) for which they are applying.

Award winners will receive the following:
  • National recognition on the AOI website and through press releases
  • A trophy
  • Free membership with AOI (up to 5 users per organization) for one year
  • The opportunity to serve as a judge in the subsequent year’s awards program in the category for which you won an award
Any organization that submits a fully completed application will also receive one regular membership with AOI for one year.
NOTE: AOI is not a funding organization. Award winners will not receive any monetary prizes.

Some Final Advice:
The application is going to ask for a lot of details regarding your strategies for helping youth age out of foster care. We recommend that all applicants allow sufficient time to fill in the application thoroughly. Here is a recommended timeline:

  • January 1 – February 7: Request an application and take a week or more to fill it out.
  • February 8 – February 15: Ask someone familiar with your program to read through the completed application and provide feedback on the content – whether it is clearly written and thoroughly completed. Make revisions based on his/her feedback.
  • February 16 – February 21: Ask someone who has the skills to proof the application for grammar and spelling. (There are resources online to do this, if needed.) Make revisions based on his/her feedback.
  • February 22 – February 28: Submit your application and any supporting materials.

Do not be deterred if you cannot fill in every section of the application. We ask about many different types of strategies and don’t expect that every caregiver or organization will have programs that include every strategy that we’re asking about.

Do not assume that your program would not win an award. We are looking for solid, effective strategies as well as unique, innovative strategies. You also never know how many other programs are applying in any given year, so every program has a chance to win.

Finally, we hope that even just filling out the application will in and of itself benefit those who participate by giving applicants ideas regarding program expansion and/or improvements.

If you have any questions about the awards program application process, please contact AOI at

Request an Application Form:

The deadline for submitting an application for the 2018 awards program has passed and this form has been removed.