Report: Young People Benefit From Extended Foster Care

Posted August 5, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young people experience better outcomes when they remain in extended foster care.

Young peo­ple in fos­ter care — espe­cial­ly youth of col­or — reap sig­nif­i­cant rewards if they remain in extend­ed fos­ter care into their ear­ly 20s, accord­ing to a recent Child Trends report, Sup­port­ing Old­er Youth Beyond Age 18.

With fund­ing from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive, Child Trends ana­lyzed three fed­er­al­ly man­dat­ed nation­al datasets — the Adop­tion and Fos­ter Care Analy­sis and Report­ing Sys­tem Fos­ter Care File, the Nation­al Youth in Tran­si­tion Data­base (NYTD) Ser­vices File and the NYTD Out­comes File — and found that young peo­ple who expe­ri­ence extend­ed fos­ter care are more like­ly to:

  • be employed;
  • be enrolled in school;
  • receive edu­ca­tion­al aid; and
  • achieve hous­ing stability.

Nation­al­ly, near­ly 30 states have extend­ed fos­ter care under the fed­er­al Fos­ter­ing Con­nec­tions to Suc­cess and Increas­ing Adop­tions Act, which pro­vides fed­er­al funds for vol­un­tary extend­ed fos­ter care after age 18. The Fos­ter­ing Con­nec­tions Act is designed to con­nect young peo­ple to need­ed ser­vices while giv­ing them more time to pre­pare for adulthood.

Though extend­ed fos­ter care can­not replace the ben­e­fits of a legal per­ma­nent fam­i­ly, it is a valu­able tool in sup­port­ing the suc­cess of old­er youth tran­si­tion­ing out of care.

Oth­er resources on extend­ing fos­ter care:

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