Youth and Caseworker Perspectives on Older Adolescents in California Foster Care: Youths' Education Status and Services.
Chapin Hall Discussion Paper.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
This paper examines the educational status of and services available to older adolescents in foster care in California, both from the viewpoint of the young people themselves and from the viewpoint of caseworkers who work with foster youth. Three specific areas are examined in the paper: the educational history and status of older adolescents in care, the perception of how ready these youth are to pursue their educational goals, and the availability and helpfulness of education related services. Data is drawn from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) and includes responses from 235 California caseworkers who serve older foster care youth and 727 foster adolescents. Findings indicate youth were generally optimistic about their future educational attainment; nearly all of them expect to finish high school and over 80% expect to graduate from college; most youth are connected to school, work, or both, however, about 1 in 10 are not connected to either; young people said they were encouraged to pursue their education by three important groups of adults in their lives: family members, school workers, and individuals working in the foster care system; about 45% of youth said that receiving support to continue their education was the biggest reason they would choose to stay in care; 60% of workers reported that youth saw extended care as an important way to pursue their educational goals; although the majority of youth aspire to complete a college degree, more than half are reading below a high school level at age 18; and most youth said that their guardians or biological family are the people who provide the most help with their education, and only one-third said they received a lot of services intended to support them educationally. 7 tables and 11 references.
foster adolescents; academic achievement; postsecondary education; aging out; schools; youth services; California