A recently released study shows that California foster youth who remain in care after they turn 18 are better educated, more likely to be employed and wealthier than their peers who exit the system at 18.
The study, conducted by Chaplin Hill at the University of Chicago, used data from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) to track more than 40,000 foster youth in California’s Child Welfare Services/Case Management System over five years.
According to the report, youth who remained in care increased the amount of money they had in their bank accounts by $404, decreased their odds of being homeless by 28 percent and reduced their chances of being arrested by 41 percent.
The most recent Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that the number of youth in congregate care or group homes is down to 21,649, which marks a decrease of more than 10,000 children since their 2008 report. While the use of congregate care has been trending downward for more than a decade, the recently passed Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) will result in these figures dropping even more.
As previously mentioned in our newsletter, “Understanding the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA),” congregate care is slowly being phased out as funding is being redirected towards the “Foster Care New Deal.” Continue reading
Almost 25,000 youth age out of foster care each year, most with the goal of attending college. However, nearly 80 percent of these young adults don’t even enroll and those that do rarely graduate. That’s why states across the country are investing in educational supports to give these young men and women a chance at attaining their educational goals despite financial barriers.
The national nonprofit Foster Care to Success, in their January 2014 publication Fostering Success in Education: National Factsheet on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Foster Care, stated that 84 percent of foster youth ages 17-18 want to attend college, yet only 20 percent manage to do so, and of those, only 3 percent of those graduate with a bachelor’s degree.
According to a University of Chicago report, nearly one-third of the nation’s foster children haven’t graduated high school or earned their General Education Development (GED) Certificate. In an effort to raise high school graduation rates President Obama signed the “Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)” in 2015.
ESSA replaced President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and put an emphasis on improving student performance while setting a national academic standard. It also addressed the unique educational needs of foster children with several mandates, such as keeping children in the school they were enrolled in prior to entering care or moving to a new foster home and providing transportation to and from school.
Whether it’s something trivial like tying a shoe or something major like choosing a college, most children have their parents to turn to whenever they need help. However, for kids in foster care, that parental support is often not there. In the case of Sophia Orama, a New Jersey Foster Care (NJFC) Scholar, she had to be the one providing support.
With an alcoholic mother and an absentee father, Orama was forced to become the caretaker of the household. “I stayed with her [my mother] for many years because I was the one that was taking care of her,” Orama said. “It wasn’t until the time that I was 16 and I was a junior in high school and I was like, ‘I got to start thinking about myself,’ because college was coming up.”