Fostering Youth Transitions: Young people face challenges moving into adulthood

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Fostering Youth Transitions: Young people face challenges moving into adulthood


All young people—regardless of their race, ethnicity, location or background—deserve the relationships, resources and opportunities to successfully transition to adulthood. But many young people in the foster care system, including many in Iowa, lack this kind of stability, according to a first-of-its-kind data set from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The new data brief Fostering Youth Transitions is a first-ever look at young people transitioning out of the foster care system and the challenges and consequences they face moving forward. It includes data from all 50 states to assess how young people fare as they move from foster care to adulthood.

In Iowa, the story mostly reflects national trends. Nearly half—48 percent—of young people experienced three or more placements while in foster care, a risk factor that can lead to worse outcomes for youth. And many Iowa youth age out of the system without being reunited or connected to a family, which increases their risk for homelessness, poverty, unemployment and other challenges. Of the young people in Iowa leaving foster care, over 40 percent do so without secured permanency.  

The data show that young people transitioning from foster care are lagging behind their peers in completing high school and getting into jobs. We know that a significant percentage experience homelessness.

There are deep racial disparities in Iowa’s foster care system. Children of color enter the system at a much higher rate than their white peers. Over half of African American young people in foster care have experienced three or more placements; nearly half of Latino young people have.

Fostering Youth Transitions shows the clear need not only for more and better data gathering but also for better policies and practices, to give young people in foster care the best chances possible. Learn more about the issue, including state-specific data and action steps, by visiting  

11/20/2018 1:23 PM |Add a comment
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