Fostering Adults: The State of Care
Since 2008, nearly every state in America has extended foster care to age 21, an effort to help prevent the staggering levels of homelessness and criminal justice involvement experienced by those who “age out” of the system. In most systems, the extra help for young adults comes with rules about education and employment.
California became one of the first states to extend foster care when the Fostering Connections to Success Act became law. In this series, The Imprint spent months examining the first decade of this new safety net.
We found a system that has shown promise in helping young people save money and advance their education as they move toward adulthood. But many foster youths also struggle to navigate the rules required to keep their benefits.
This four-part series was reported and written by Karen de Sá, Sara Tiano and Katarina Sayally, with editing by John Kelly. Christine Ongjoco created the illustrations. The project was mostly reported before the coronavirus pandemic struck, and included months of ongoing communication with current and former foster youth, observations in two confidential courtrooms and interviews with more than 60 child welfare experts. Facts have been updated to better reflect current circumstances.
California Extended Foster Care to 21. Was It Enough?
Just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools and businesses and isolated millions of people in their homes, a California senator introduced groundbreaking legislation to reimagine how the state supports some of its most vulnerable, yet hopeful, residents: Young adults raised in foster care.
Strings Attached: Young Adults Fight to Stay In Foster Care
On a recent weeknight on the suburban streets of Silicon Valley, a 20-year-old former foster youth offered a weary and frank assessment of his latest struggles to survive. Peter had recently scrounged up $600 to buy a barely functional “classic old hippie van” he planned to live in — that was until he got pulled over at midnight for driving without a registration.
Earning Your Keep In Foster Care: The Court Decides
Attempting to prove to a Santa Clara County court late last year that she had earned her monthly foster care check, a South Bay teenager couldn’t quite remember all the places she had applied for work.