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January 2021Vol. 22, No. 1National Youth in Transition Database Turns 10

Since 2010, the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) has been collecting outcomes information directly from youth transitioning out of the foster care system through a series of shorts surveys. This reporting system is the first to include youth and family voice in program monitoring, with the goal of understanding the passage of youth through the child welfare system and beyond.

Ten years later, the following data highlight the importance of this data-collection effort:

  • NYTD researchers have new information about what youth experience after they begin to transition out of the system as well as new insights into the role services play in improving that experience. Surveys show that by age 21, most young adults have earned a high school diploma or GED, have a positive connection to an adult, and have medical insurance. 
  • Youth who were placed in a foster family home were more likely to report better education and employment outcomes and fewer experiences with homelessness and involvement with the justice system compared with youth who were placed in group homes. Also, youth with fewer placement changes reported better outcomes in these areas compared with youth who had experienced multiple placements.
  • States are using the database to inform services.

In addition to collecting data on youth transitioning from care, NYTD surveys also provide youth with an opportunity to reconnect with supports and systems they may have lost contact with after exiting care.

For more information, read "A Decade Studying Foster Youth Transition to Adulthood" from The Imprint, and visit the Children's Bureau NYTD webpage.