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Children who are permanently placed in the foster care system are in dire need of a permanent, loving home.   Over 40% of those awaiting adoption are 10 years of age and older, and the clock is ticking…For youth who “age out” of the foster care system without a connection to a caring, responsible adult, life is rough and their future prospects are bleak:

  • 70% express interest in attending college yet only 10% actually enroll.  (Emerson, John, Casey Family Programs Education Advisor. From Foster Care to College Supporting Independent Students (2007).)
  •  50% of emancipated foster youth experience high rates of unemployment within five years of emancipation.
  • 1/3 of former foster youth have incomes at, or below, $6,000 per year, which is substantially below the federal poverty level of $7,890 for a single individual.
  • 42% of foster youth, including 60% of women, become parents within 2.5 years after exiting care.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) requested a tri-state study to examine employment and earnings outcomes for youth, through their mid-twenties, who age out of foster care.  Key findings:

  • Low rates of employment persist through age 24:  About three out of five youth who age out of foster care are working at age 24 in all three states (California, Minnesota and North Carolina), a rate lower than that of youth nationally and youth from low-income families.
  • Low earnings persist through age 24:  Average monthly earnings for youth who age out of foster care remain low at age 24 in all three states ($690 in California, $575 in Minnesota, and $450 in North Carolina). These earnings are substantially lower than earnings for youth nationally, who earn $1,535 a month.

A primary milestone in the transition to adulthood is the quest for gainful employment.  Studies of former foster youth who age out of foster care find that these youth generally experience high unemployment, unstable employment patterns, and they earn very low incomes in the period between ages 18 and 21.  Studies also document consistently low rates of high school completion.

Increasing The Odds is doing our part to inspire caring, responsible adults to adopt.  Please consider the possibility.  Attend an adoption orientation to learn more.  Get your questions answered and find out about resources and support for adoptive parents.  Call  855-222-3059 or use our contact form to send us a brief message.

Together, we can increase the odds that children in foster care will go on to lead healthy, productive and fulfilling lives.