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It’s just common sense: An adult's past criminal history or history of child maltreatment is not to be balanced against the safety of a child. This is...

Child Maltreatment History Should Be a Bar to Being a Foster Parent

April 23, 2017

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November 19, 2018

In this first-of-its-kind report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation draws
on a new source of national and state-level data to illustrate the
experience of transitioning from foster care to adulthood. It is well
established that for youth and young adults in foster care, solid
connections to nurturing adults and stable communities often
are disrupted by multiple home and school moves, academic
challenges and a lack of permanent connections to family
— only to face disproportionate levels of unemployment and
homelessness as adults. What’s more, young people of color
are far more likely to face barriers to success and well-being.
It’s critical that all stakeholders understand the experiences of
young people transitioning from foster care in America if outcomes
are to improve. The stories behind these data further emphasize
the need for policymaker engagement and guide steps to be taken
to improve the well-being of young people in foster care. In its
17 years of working with child welfare leaders, policymakers and
young people across the country, the Foundation’s Jim Casey
Youth Opportunities Initiative® has uncovered persistently stark
data, including these new findings:
• Half of older teens who left foster care aged out versus being
reunited or connected with a family.
• A third have been removed from their home and placed in foster
care multiple times.
• Half have experienced three or more foster care placements.
Using the Fostering Youth Transitions
state profiles
Each profile highlights a state’s key demographic data
about young people in foster care that can be used
to help pinpoint disparities across racial and ethnic
lines. The profiles also show whether and how young
people are accessing available resources, which can
help leaders determine whether changes need to be
made to ensure greater awareness of and accessibility
to resources such as extended foster care.
Readers should digest the data and ask how young
people in foster care in their state are faring — and
what more can be done to help ensure lifelong wellbeing
and success.
RELATIONSHIPS: How well is your state doing at
ensuring young people have been connected to
permanent families before they leave foster care?
Can more be done to ensure connections for them
to mentors and other supportive, caring adults?
RESOURCES: How well is your state doing at ensuring
young people are aware of available resources and
services that provide a safety net and can help them
achieve economic well-being?
OPPORTUNITIES: How well is your state doing at
ensuring young people are being given education,
employment and other chances to learn and grow
during what is a key developmental phase in
their lives?
• A third experienced a group home or institutional placement during their most recent stay in
foster care.
• Less than a quarter of young people who received a federally funded transition service received
services for employment, education or housing. (All states receive federal funds to help young people
transition from foster care to adulthood.)
These data illustrate the separation from family and instability these young people face in foster
care. These experiences are tied to the negative outcomes they often face later upon transitioning
to adulthood. The data clearly show how these young people are falling behind their peers. How we
support the lives of young people in and transitioning from foster care has lifelong consequences, as

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