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In This Report, You’ll Learn
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.
The estimated cost of extending foster care to age 21.
The math behind these cost calculations.
Why this extension benefits society and foster care youth.
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.
Table of Contents
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.
Findings & Stats
A Vulnerable Population
Approximately 26,000 young people — many just 18 years old — age out of the American foster care system each year and are left on their own.
Compared to their 18-and-out counterparts, youth in extended foster care are more than twice as likely to complete a year of college by age 21.
Former foster care youth who hold a bachelor’s degree earn roughly $481,000 more over the course of their careers than former foster youth who have earned only a high school diploma.
Statements & Quotations
If states adopt a policy of allowing young people to remain in foster care until their 21st birthday, the potential benefits to foster youth and society will more than offset the costs to government.
Allowing foster youth to remain in care until age 21 could lead to a significant increase in educational attainment, which in turn would result in significantly higher lifetime earnings.
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