Aging Out of Foster Care: The Unmet Needs of Youth

Identifying and assessing opportunities for improving services to youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood

In December 2007, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies issued Aging Out of the Foster Care System to Adulthood: Findings, Challenges, and Recommendations, a report on the unmet needs of youth aging out of foster care in America.

Key Findings

  • Based on a literature review, a telephone survey of social workers and a series of "listening sessions" with youth and other stakeholders in the foster care system, the report's key findings include:

    • Compared to other youth in the United States, youth who age out of foster care are less prepared to function independently.
    • Nearly half (47%) of surveyed social workers rated the resources in their foster system as fair or poor. Only 11 percent rated them as excellent.
    • Limited data is available about the outcomes of youth aging out of the foster care system.
    • Many youth in foster care feel they lack adult advocates to guide them through life.