Fostering Connections to Success: Research

The following listings are a compilation of the resources and publications of the following organizations: the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, California Fostering Connections, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and

National Research & Resources

Research on Outcomes on Aging Out

  • The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Midwest Study) is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The study follows a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood in order to provide a comprehensive picture of how foster youth are faring during this transition since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law.

Issue Briefs Related To The Larger Midwest Study:

  • The Economic Well-Being of LGB Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care issue brief describes the characteristics and economic well-being of young people aging out of foster care who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB). It also compares their economic self-sufficiency to that of their heterosexual peers also aging out of care. 
  • Assessing the Impact of Extending Care Beyond Age 18 on Homelessness: Emerging Findings from the Midwest Studyaddresses three major questions stemming from their research findings in the Midwest Study: How common is homelessness among young people making the transition from foster care to adulthood do young people become homeless? Is there any evidence that allowing young people to remain in care until 21 reduces homelessness?
  • Distinct Subgroups of Former Foster Youth During Young Adulthood: Implications for Policy and Practice uses data from their findings to identify subpopulations and generate four distinctive multi-dimensional profiles of transitioning foster youth.
  • Does Extending Foster Care Beyond Age 18 Promote Postsecondary Educational Attainment? updates the data from the Midwest Study regarding the relationship between postsecondary educational attainments and extending foster care until age 21.
  • Employment of Former Foster Youth as Young Adults: Evidence from the Midwest Study explores how former foster youth in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa are faring in the labor market and what explains the variability in employment outcomes for these youth by describing trends in former foster youths' employment from age 17 to 24 and considering how former foster youths' characteristics and experiences are associated with their employment and wages.
  • Extending Foster Care to Age 21: Weighing the Costs to Government Against the Benefits of Youth provides some preliminary estimates of those costs and benefits using data from a variety of sources, including the Midwest Study, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the 1988 National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), and the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. Few studies have examined how children in foster care have fared as adults, and even fewer studies have identified what changes in foster care services could improve their lives. This study provides new information in both areas.
  • Report on Human Rights Watch Interviews with Former Foster Children, Now Homeless: A report to the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, chronicling the experiences of homeless former foster youth in California. Documents pervasive difficulties across domains of life functioning by providing testimonials in the youths' own words. Contextualizes comments and provides concluding remarks.
  • Public Shelter Admission Among Young Adults with Child Welfare Histories by Type of Service and Type of Exit examines the prevalence and associated factors of New York City public shelter use among young adults with histories of out-of-home care or nonplacement preventive services as teenagers. The study finds that 19 percent of former child welfare service users entered public shelters within 10 years of exit from child welfare. Persons with out-ofhome placement histories are twice as likely to enter public shelters (22 percent) as those who received nonplacement preventive services only (11 percent). Persons exiting child welfare through absconding from child welfare have the highest rate of shelter use, followed by those discharged to independent living.
  • Assessing Outcomes for Youth Transitioning from Foster Care:The Utah Department of Human Services reviewed the outcomes of 926 youth who aged out of foster care between 1999 and 2004, and comparing outcomes for those who left care before and after implementation of the Transition to Adult Living Initiative in 2003. This report describes those outcomes, which were mixed, and makes recommendations for further improvement.
  • Coming of Age: Employment Outcomes for Youth Who Age Out of Foster Care Through Their Middle Twenties: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) requested this study to examine employment and earnings outcomes for youth, through their mid-twenties, who age out of foster care. The key question and focus of the study is whether foster youth catch up or continue to experience less employment and significantly lower earnings than their peers even into their mid-twenties.
  • Employment Outcomes for Youth Aging Out of Foster Careprovides information on the employment outcomes of children exiting foster care near their eighteenth birthdays in California, Illinois, and South Carolina during the mid-1990s. It describes when they began to have earnings, in how many quarters over a 13-quarter time period they had earned income, and the amount of earned income they received over that time period. These outcomes are compared to those for youth who were reunified with their parents prior to their eighteenth birthday and to low-income youth.