Troubling Outcomes for Youth in the Foster Care System and the Need for More Effective Child Welfare Policies

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A new data brief released this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Fostering Youth Transitions, highlights the most comprehensive data set ever collected across all 50 states to assess how young people fare as they transition from foster care to adulthood.

For those working in direct service or child welfare advocacy, Fostering Youth Transitions provides a state-by-state snapshot of how young people are served during this transition and how we can better support them.

This data brief may be downloaded for free from the Casey Foundation’s website. The first-of-its-kind compilation shows that:

  • Among older teens in foster care nationwide, more than half age out of foster care without being reunited or connected to a family.
  • Young people who emancipate from care experience twice as many days in foster care as young people who achieve permanency.
  • All youth who reach age 18 in care would benefit from extended care and support, but only one in four is receiving it.

Fostering Youth Transitions shows the clear need not only for more and better data gathering but also for better policies and practices, to give young people in foster care the best chances possible. The Casey Foundation calls on foster care system leaders to seek out young people in foster care or who are in or have experienced foster care to hear directly from them about what has worked for them and what hasn’t.

Finally, once areas of reform are identified, the foster care system must hold itself accountable to working with young people to take appropriate action to address them.

Find your state’s snapshot and read more about this new, first-of-its-kind data compilation at the Casey Foundation website here.

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