Extending Foster Care to Age 21

Weighing the Costs to Government Against the Benefits to Youth

Posted June 21, 2009
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This report offers policymakers a clear and compelling case for supporting foster care youth beyond age 18. It analyzes the outcomes of former foster care youth in 3 states to estimate the costs — and lifelong benefits — of extending the foster care finish line in America. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

The math is clear: Extending foster care to 21 is a smart money move

The estimated cost of extending foster care is significant: $38,000 per youth. But this initial investment is worth it — and boosts an individual’s career earnings by $72,000, say experts. This means that every $1 spent yields almost $2 in return for each young adult in extended care.