Aging Out of Foster Care

October 7, 2021

The John. H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee) provides funding to programs, such as independent living programs and education/workplace training programs, that support youth transitioning (“aging”) out of foster care. Researchers involved with the RPC compiled research on aging out of foster care in response to House Foster Youth Caucus priorities on this topic.


What does “aging out” of foster care mean?

  • Youth who are either not adopted or placed back into the care of their parents by their 18th birthday age out of foster care and are emancipated, meaning that the government is no longer responsible for their guardianship.


What are the outcomes of aging out of foster care?

  • Youth who age out of foster care are more likely to have difficulty securing employment, procuring independent housing, and paying rent and utilities when they do find housing.
  • Outcomes of youth who age out of foster care could be improved through independent living services, as well as education and employment services. However, to date, many standard transitioning services (e.g., classroom-style trainings) have not demonstrated intended impacts.
  • Programs covered by Chafee should utilize research-informed practices and be evaluated for achieving intended goals. More work is needed to develop and test theory-driven and developmentally appropriate interventions serving this population.
  • For additional information about youth who have aged out of foster care, refer to this report by Courtney, Dwoesky, Lee, and Raap (2010).



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