Casey Endorses Extending Foster Care to Age 21 in Youth Today Op-Ed

Posted June 24, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Leslie Gross, director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative

The poten­tial to save soci­ety bil­lions of dol­lars while giv­ing young peo­ple in fos­ter care what they need to thrive makes it imper­a­tive that more states con­sid­er extend­ing fos­ter care to age 21. This is the case that Leslie Gross, direc­tor of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive®, makes in a new Youth Today op-ed.

Young peo­ple in extend­ed fos­ter care are more like­ly to obtain a high school diplo­ma or equiv­a­lent cre­den­tial than those who age out of fos­ter care ear­li­er, and young peo­ple of col­or in extend­ed fos­ter care have the same or high­er odds of obtain­ing a high school diploma/​GED than their white coun­ter­parts in extend­ed care,” Gross writes in the op-ed.

Imag­ine we could make sure that every young per­son tran­si­tion­ing out of fos­ter care was able to grad­u­ate from high school and go on to col­lege or post­sec­ondary train­ing, live in safe and sta­ble hous­ing and have oppor­tu­ni­ties to work and delay par­ent­ing until they are ready,” Gross adds. If we knew that sup­port would pay off in $4.1 bil­lion for our country’s econ­o­my over the life span of each wave of 23,000 young peo­ple leav­ing fos­ter care every year, wouldn’t we make it happen?”

The op-ed under­scores the find­ings of Future Sav­ings, a recent Casey report. The pub­li­ca­tion focus­es on young peo­ple who age out of fos­ter care and explores four areas — edu­ca­tion, ear­ly par­ent­hood, home­less­ness and incar­cer­a­tion — where they fare worse than their gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion peers. Future Sav­ings exam­ines the eco­nom­ic cost of this short­fall and how tar­get­ed inter­ven­tions can help these youth while also eras­ing bil­lions of dol­lars in unnec­es­sary costs.

Read more on the eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits of sup­port­ing youth in fos­ter care as they tran­si­tion to adulthood

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