By Maria Woolverton, Senior Social Science Research Analyst, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
How can the foster care system help facilitate youths’ successful transition to adulthood? We explored this question as we began to plan new evaluation activities under the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.
Our recent review of the issue describes the developmental assets youth need for success in adulthood and ways the foster care system can help facilitate their preparation. The review also identified 10 different categories of independent living programs for youth transitioning out of foster care and found that there is little experimental research on these programs. So we have much to learn about what types of impacts these programs may have on youth.
Three new briefs highlight three types of programs as they relate to youth in or transitioning out of foster care: education, financial literacy and asset-building, and employment programs. Primary findings include:
Each brief concludes with considerations for the field when moving toward the next generation of evaluations of independent living programs. Taken together, these briefs demonstrate that across all types of programs, we must consider the unique needs and circumstances of youth in foster care, as well as how to tailor and target the programs to achieve positive impacts.