Issue Brief Finds Biggest Effect of Extended Foster Care: Enrollment in College

As part of the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood (CalYOUTH) Study, Professor Mark Courtney and his colleagues at the University of Chicago have issued a policy brief exploring the relationship between extended foster care and selected outcomes for youth transitioning to adulthood from care in California. The analysis measures the impact of remaining in foster care past age 18 on seven outcomes: secondary education, post-secondary education, assets, economic hardship, homelessness, receipt of public assistance and criminal justice involvement.

The study finds that for every outcome, remaining in care longer is associated with better outcomes. The most powerful outcome was enrollment in college: an additional year in foster care almost triples (2.8 times) the likelihood that a youth will be enrolled in college. Additionally, an extra year past age 18 more than doubles the likelihood that a youth will have financial assets, and reduces the likelihood that the youth will experience an economic hardship, become homelessness or become involved with the criminal justice system by half or more. To read the policy brief, follow this LINK.