This session presents findings from studies of programs and policies focused on engaging youth aging out of foster care in education, employment, and housing. While all youth need access to support to build the skills and competencies to transition successfully to adulthood, many young adults exiting foster care do so without the financial or other resources many parents strive to provide children well into the early adult years. Despite the disparity in assistance, roughly 20,000 youth age out of foster care every year who are expected to make it on their own. Understanding how these programs and policies help these youth is essential to supporting this group of young people at a critical time in their lives.
The papers in this session help fill empirical gaps in what researchers, policymakers, and service-providers know about employment programs, education and training supports, and college success programming geared to transition-age youth in foster care. The first paper presents findings from an analysis of matched national and state-level administrative data on the federal Education and Training Voucher (ETV) program and how well it assists transition-age youth in foster care access and afford post-secondary education and training. The second paper presents findings from a mixed-methods study of a college success program, its outcomes for students, and challenges and opportunities for future efforts to evaluate the impacts of college success programs. The third paper presents findings from a mixed-methods study of two qualitatively different employment programs, the different ways each program approaches preparing transition-age youth for work, and how well the models achieve their goals. The fourth paper presents findings from a qualitative study of housing programs for youth transitioning out of foster care.
These studies are part of the larger research project, "Phase II Evaluation Activities for Implementing a Next Generation Evaluation Agenda for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for the Successful Transition to Adulthood," funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF).