Becoming Adults: Do Youth in Foster Care Accurately Gauge Their Preparedness for Work?

Publication Date: May 14, 2013


Young adults formerly in foster care are less likely to be employed or enrolled in college at age 19 than their same-age peers nationally, contributing to greater economic instability in their early adult years. Social workers, educators, and policymakers question whether youth are adequately prepared for work but have difficulty assessing their job preparedness. This brief, prepared by the Urban Institute, uses data collected as part of the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs to examine: 1) how youth in foster care rate their preparedness for work at age 17, and 2) whether their assessments accurately predict education and employment two years later. The results indicated that a high sense of job preparedness, particularly when combined with high reading skills, was associated with more employment and college enrollment among young adults currently and formerly in foster care.

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