Research Brief: Raising the Bar – Building system- and provider-level evidence to drive equitable education and employment outcomes for youth in extended foster care

Armed with a 20+ year history of providing services and support to transition age foster youth, First Place for Youth is now using precision analytics and data science to make new predictions about how we better serve this vulnerable population in the United States. This research brief reflects our commitment and our passion for driving a more equitable foster-care system.

  • Youth who exit foster care at 18 years old are at tremendous risk for financial & life-altering hardships.
  • Youth who engage in extended care have reduced rates of homelessness, unemployment, and imprisonment.
  • However, evidence is lacking on how extended care services aid in education goals & an ability to earn a living wage.
  • Successful self-sufficiency timelines in extended care range from 1.5-5.5 years.
  • This wide range suggests youth would benefit from a more personalized approach with customized milestones & goals.
  • First Place build the Youth Success Roadmap Tool to leverage historical data & build personalized roadmaps.
  • When one participant group received “what works,” their chances of earning a living- wage appeared to rise from 20% to 80%.
  • Most significant post-care living-wage predictors: age at entry, number of prior placements, and history of group care.
  • Top High Impact Goals Identified: career progress, good household maintenance, relationship stability, and public assistance.
  • Top High Impact Services Identified: length of stay, good tenancy, and engagement with care manager and employment specialists.
Raising the Bar Research Brief
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Key Takeaways