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Young People in All 50 States Struggle While Transitioning from Foster Care to Adulthood - African-Americans have the most disparate outcomes

The Annie E. Casey Foundation today released Fostering Youth Transitions, a data brief highlighting the most comprehensive data set ever collected across all 50 states to assess how young people fare as they transition from foster care to adulthood.

Young people transitioning from foster care are lagging behind their peers in completing high school and gaining employment. A significant percentage are experiencing homelessness. More than half the young people who spent time in foster care experienced three or more placements.

In 17 years of working with child welfare leaders, policymakers and young people across the country, the Foundation's Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative has uncovered stark data about this population. Young people of color enter the foster care system at much higher rates than their white peers and have disparate outcomes. In about half the states, the rate of being in foster care for African-Americans ages 14-21 is more than three times higher than the rate for young white people.

Additional findings include:

  • Among older teens in foster care nationwide, more than half age out of foster care without being reunited or connected to a family.
  • Young people who emancipate from care experience twice as many days in foster care than young people who achieve permanency.
  • All youth who reach age 18 in care would benefit from extended care and support, but only one in four is getting it.

"We now have the data to confirm that our systems are not delivering on the commitment to ensure these youth are growing up with permanent families that would best enable them to thrive," saysLeslie Gross, director of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative®. "This new evidence makes undeniable the need to push policies that support permanence."

Policymakers should ask tough questions that will help improve a state's ability to collect and report child welfare data. Foster care system leaders can seek out young people who are or were in foster care to hear directly about what has worked for them and what hasn't. Once areas of reform are identified, the foster care system must hold itself accountable to working with young people to take appropriate action to address them.

Contact: Donte Donald, ddonald@fenton.com, 212-897-2063 or Beau Boughamer, media@aecf.org, 410-458-5018

SOURCE The Annie E. Casey Foundation
https://www.aecf.org

BALTIMORE, Nov. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

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