Childrens Report Card

Sacramento County Childrens Coalition

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Transition Age Foster Youth

Over the past ten years, more than 2,500 Sacramento County foster youth have aged out, or emancipated from the foster care system. As is the case throughout the State and Nation, most of these children leave the foster care system with limited educational or employment prospects and minimal adult connections to help support them in their “independence.” In turn , they face very poor outcomes as young adults, with high rates of unemployment, homelessness, criminal activity, and untreated mental health issues.

Exit Outcomes for Foster Youth

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Why is this important?

  • The outcomes for youth emancipating from foster care are grim.
  • Studies have indicated that 50% of emancipated foster youth become homeless within 1 year of emancipation; California Youth Connections found that up to 40% of people living in homeless shelters are former foster youth.

The Children’s Advocacy Institute found that

  • 25% - 35% of former foster youth are incarcerated at some point after leaving care (their peers in the general population serve time in state or federal prison at a rate of 2.7% ).
  • Of those foster youth who are employed, 90% earn less than $10,000 a year after leaving foster care and 75% still earn less than $10,000 annually at 21.
  • 85% of current or former foster youth have serious mental health issues, compared with 8% of transition age youth in the general population

How are we doing?

  • In 2012, 203 young adults emancipated or turned 18 while in foster care, of which the whereabouts were known for only 57.
  • At the time of emancipation for Sacramento County foster youth, less than half (46%) had obtained a high school diploma, and fewer than one-fifth (18%) had found employment.
  • Better news, 8 in 10 (84%) had housing arranged at the time of emancipation, and 9 in 10 (93%) said they had achieved a permanent connection with someone in the community.
  • Emancipating foster you in Sacramento County under-perform their peers, statewide in terms of educational attainment, employment, and housing at the time of emancipation.
  • Given the poor outcomes of foster youth at the time of their emancipation, it should be expected that the lifelong outcomes for emancipating foster youth are going to be even worse in Sacramento County than are found in Statewide and National studies.

Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

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Why is this important?

  • The length of stay in foster care correlates with number of placements. With such a large percentage of Sacramento County transition age foster youth having spent more than three years in the system, it is expected that they have had multiple placements, and therefore, have little sense of a permanent connection with any foster family.

How are we doing?

  • In Sacramento County, two-thirds (65%) of children who aged out of foster care have been in care for more than three years, compared to slightly more than half (55%) statewide.
  • Given the duration of their time in the foster care system, it is likely that more than 80% of Sacramento County youth transitioning out of foster care have had at least three placements.

Data Source: Center for Social Services Research

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 June 2013 12:09