This brief examines Opportunity Passport™ participant data to reveal the education and employment barriers that young people often face when leaving foster care. Readers will also learn how to design effective policies and practices that supply the resources, relationships and opportunities needed to help these young people successfully transition into adulthood.
The Jim Casey Initiative’s Opportunity Passport program is a matched-savings intervention that aims to improve young people’s financial capability as they transition from foster care into adulthood.
The cut-to-the-chase conclusion? Opportunity Passport is working.
Findings & Stats
In this report, economic progression is a reflection of a young person’s performance across three survey periods and in four distinct areas: 1) employment; 2) full-time employment; 3) average hour worked each week; and 4) hourly pay.
From ages 16 to 18, 47% of white and Latino participants and 30% of black participants experienced gains in employment.
The Impact of Instability
Participants who had a greater number of foster care placements at age 19 were less likely to experience gains in employment or hourly wages by age 21.
Statements & Quotations
Researchers estimate that 22% of employed young people who experienced foster care do not earn enough to rise out of poverty, and 71% earn less than $25,000 a year.
While employment carries many benefits beyond wages — such as learning responsibility, organization and time management skills — simply having a job is not enough; it must provide a living wage.