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Young Adult Outcomes Of Youth Exiting Dependent Or Delinquent Care In Los Angeles County

NCJ Number
Dennis P. Culhane, Ph.D.; Thomas Byrne; Stephen Metraux, Ph.D.; Manuel Moreno, Ph.D.; Halil Toros, Ph.D.; Max Stevens, Ph.D.
Date Published
November 2011
125 pages
This study examined outcomes in young adulthood for youth who have reached the age when they must leave the child welfare system from out-of-home placements either in foster care or congregate residential facilities.
This study compared outcomes for three groups: those who had been in juvenile probation (JP), those who had been in out-of-home child welfare placement (CW), and youth who exited an out-of-home child welfare placement between the ages of 16 and 21 and also had a record of involvement with the juvenile probation system ("cross-over" group). Demographic profiles are reported for members of each of the three groups. The study found that in the initial 4 years following exit from care, one-fourth of the JP group, one-third of the CW group, and one half of cross-over youth experienced a period of extreme poverty during their young adult years, as measured by receipt of government assistance. Incarceration was particularly prevalent among crossover youth, with almost two-thirds having a jail stay. This was significantly higher than the one-half of JP youth who had a jail stay and more than double the one-quarter of the CW youth who had a jail stay. Having an episode of adult probation was a less common experience for members of all three groups. Cost estimates indicate that substantial government resources were spent on jail stays for members of all three groups in years one to four following exit from care. For the three groups, data are also provided on their health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment, as well as educational attainment. Implications of the findings are drawn for policy and research. 4 tables and 10 references