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September 2008Vol. 9, No. 7Young Adult Outcomes for Former Foster Youth

Outcomes for young adults who received foster care services from Casey Family Programs are the focus of a new study that examines how these youth compare with other foster youth and young adults in the general population. The Casey Young Adult Survey: Findings Over Three Years presents a summary of data collected by the Casey Young Adult Survey (CYAS).

The CYAS is an annual cohort study conducted every year between 2004 and 2006 of 19-, 22-, and 25-year-olds who received foster care services from Casey Family Programs. A total of 557 youth were interviewed to obtain data about a number of outcome domains, including whether they were living independently, the incidence of homelessness, their physical and mental health, educational attainment, employment and finances, relationship and social support, community involvement, and criminal justice involvement.

Overall, the findings show that youth in the Casey cohort lag behind their peers in the general population. The results were similar to other foster care follow-up studies in most outcome domains, including rates of homelessness, symptoms of mental health disorders, GED completion, dependence on public assistance, and involvement with the criminal justice system. On the other hand, in the areas of education, employment, health insurance coverage, and drug use, youth in the Casey cohort fared better than most other former foster youth.

The report, by Anne Havalchak, Catherine Roller White, and Kirk O’Brien, includes a discussion of methodology, recommendations for more effective practice, and references. It is available for download on the Casey Family Programs website: