The longer foster youth receive personalized support after they turn 18 — such as housing, counseling, job skills and help getting into and paying for college — the more likely they are to earn a living wage later in life, according to a new study of foster youth in California.
When foster youth received those extended services, their likelihood of earning 80% or more of the living wage standard increased from 20% to 80%, according to the study.
Each year that foster youth received services between ages 17 and 21 they were significantly less likely to be homeless, get arrested and become parents, and more likely to finish high school, get a job and enroll in college, according to the study.
Analyzing records from more than 10,000 foster youth, the study also identified milestones that indicate young people’s chances of attaining stability and independence as they transition to adulthood. The milestones include career progress, good household maintenance skills, relationship stability, relevant and targeted public assistance, mental well-being, good employment preparation and long-term goals.
The study was compiled by First Place for Youth, an Oakland-based nonprofit that provides services to foster youth in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, based on research from the University of Chicago and other sources.