April 2015Vol. 16, No. 3Residential Settings for Young Adults in Foster Care
Since 2012, California's Fostering Connections Act (based on the Federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act) has given youth in foster care the option to remain in care past their 18th birthday. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago published a report on a study that examined the residential settings of California's young adults who choose to remain in care.
Young adults in California who choose to remain in extended foster care must fulfill specific requirements. Unless they have medical conditions that would preclude them from doing so, they must be in school, work at least part time, and participate in employment assistance programs. They must also live in specific residential settings as stipulated in the Federal Fostering Connections Act.
The Chapin Hall study held seven focus groups with 61 youth in or eligible for extended foster care in California to collect details about their residential settings. The report discusses the different types of residential settings available to these youth and the variance in their condition. Youths' feelings about their residential settings are addressed, as are the challenges they face in their residential settings (e.g., long commutes, financial challenges like learning to balance a budget). While most of the young people interviewed found their residential settings and experiences to be positive and helpful in their transition to adulthood, there were some challenges regarding residential setting conditions, feelings of isolation or loneliness, and difficulty managing their new independence.
Access Residential Settings of Young Adults in Extended Foster Care: A Preliminary Investigation, by L. Napolitano and M. E. Courtney, on the Chapin Hall website at http://www.chapinhall.org/sites/default/files/Qualitative%20Report.pdf (337 KB).