Continuing in Foster Care Beyond Age 18: How Courts Can Help

By Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago

July 1, 2008

Summary

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services asked Chapin Hall Center to take a hard look at why some kids stay in foster care after turning 18 and other eligible youth don’t. This issue brief shares the center’s findings and gives public child welfare agencies clear recommendations on raising retention rates in extended care.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Chapin Hall’s mission: Identify what influences foster youth to stay in care — or leave it — once they turn 18

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has 4 administrative regions, which vary considerably in terms of the proportion of kids who participate in extended foster care. For example: In the state’s Cook County region, 81% of youth stay in care beyond 18. In its Southern region, retention rates drop to just 37%. The question that Chapin Hall set out to answer is why?  

Findings & Stats

A Ripple Effect

A court’s commitment to keeping foster care cases open positively impacts the availability of services as well as the awareness and attitudes of people involved.

Statements & Quotations