Aging Out: Improving Outcomes for Older Foster Care Youth

Foster care youth who “age out” of the system achieve lower levels of educational attainment, employment, and stable housing compared to the national averages. Aging out is a term used to describe foster youth who leave court and child welfare jurisdiction, commonly at age 18, after the foster care system has failed in the goals of reunifying a child with the biological family or finding a permanent placement for the youth. (Some individuals refer to this as “emancipation” from foster care.) In addition to a lifelong connection with a stable adult, these youth need support and services to provide them with the skills necessary for a successful transition to independent adulthood.

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