Fostering Youth Transitions

Using Data to Drive Policy and Practice Decisions

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

November 13, 2018


This Annie E. Casey Foundation brief, which utilizes the most comprehensive data set ever collected across all 50 states, fills in key details about the lives of young people who have experienced foster care. In no uncertain terms, the data describe how youth in foster care are falling behind their general population peers and on track to face higher levels of joblessness and homelessness as adults. With these challenges clear, Casey urges leaders to take action — to collect better data, support better practices and develop better policies — so that youth in care can get the support they need, transition to adulthood and thrive.

Table of Contents

State Fact Sheets on Older Youth in Foster Care

Key Youth Transitions Takeaway

When transitioning out of foster care, young people face a surplus of challenges and a shortage of support

Young people who experience foster care lag behind their general population peers when it comes to graduating high school or getting a job. Targeted transition services can help. Yet, among all foster youth who participated in a federally funded transition service in 2015, just 23% received education support or employment assistance.

Youth Transition From Foster Care Findings & Stats

Aecf fosteringyouthtransitions over14 2018

A Quarter of the Count

One out of every four kids in America’s foster care system is at least 14 years old.

Aecf fosteringyouthtransitions age 2018

Age Analysis

Among older kids in foster care — a population that begins at age 14 — 44% of youth are at least 17 years old.

Aecf fosteringyouthtransitions placement 2018

A Subpar Option

One-third of young people experienced a group home or institutional placement during their most recent stay in foster care.

Statements & Quotations