In the last decade, scientists have identified a period of prolonged — and vital — brain development in adolescence. Learn what the experts now know, and what child welfare workers need to know, about applying these findings to youths in foster care.

January 1, 2011

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    The profile of older youths and adults in foster care.

  2. 2

    The unique needs of adolescents in foster care.

  3. 3

    The latest science on adolescent brain development.

  4. 4

    The concept of emerging adulthood.

  1. 5

    5 research-driven ways to improve foster care services for adolescents.

Key Takeaway

The science of adolescent brain development tackles some sobering topics, from talk of lost neurons to the lingering impact of complex trauma. But, it also supports one raw and very real fact: During a foster child’s long road to adulthood, a loving, supportive, lasting relationship with one person — just one person — can work wonders (and not just on the brain, but the heart and soul, too).

Adolescents in foster care often have the deck stacked against them from the start. Research suggests that they have significant behavioral, emotional or developmental needs. They are also more likely to be placed in a group or institutional setting and less likely to be adopted or establish a lasting connection to a person relative to their younger counterparts.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations