Each year, approximately 25,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system — turned out simply because they have reached the age of 18, not because they have been returned home to their families or adopted. Research tells us that one of the most important factors for positive youth development is a stable, caring relationship with an adult, yet many teens in foster care live in group homes and institutions. While some youth who age out without a permanent family do well in their lives, far too many experience very poor life outcomes.
Time Running Out: Teens in Foster Care (2003), by Children’s Rights in collaboration with the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society and Lawyers for Children, provides an in-depth look at the experiences and outcomes for youth in congregate care in New York City. It addresses placements, services, safety, and permanency for youth in congregate care, including youth involvement in planning and decision-making and youth transitioning out of the foster care system. The report concludes that group care is not conducive to positive outcomes for teens who have aged out of the system, and encourages New York City child welfare services to reduce its reliance on congregate care and develop family-based placements for youth in foster care.
This study was funded by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Alice Rosenwald, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the New York Community Trust, and the Edward and Ellen Roche Relief Fund.