Employment outcomes of former foster youth as young adults: The importance of human, personal, and social capital
Since at least the late 1980s, federal policy has focused on supporting foster youth making the transition to adulthood, and on improving their employment outcomes in particular. Despite this, little is known about the employment outcomes of former foster youth during early adulthood and the factors associated with those outcomes. These authors explored how former foster youth who aged out of care in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa were faring in the labor market at age 24, and what explained variability in employment and wages for these youth. They used multilevel models to analyze youth's employment using four waves of the Midwest Study. Results show that youth who remain in care past age 18 attain higher educational credentials, which translate into better employment outcomes. The findings point to a critical need to better understand and address barriers to education, causes of substantial racial disparities, and characteristics of family foster homes that facilitate youths' employment. They also highlight the need for policies directed at current and former foster youth who become early parents. Modified Author Abstract.