The Casey National Alumni Study posed these questions:
- How are maltreated youth placed in Casey foster care faring as adults? Do they differ from other adults with regard to functioning status?
- Are there key factors or program components—such as placement stability, individual mental health services, group work, employment training, and employment experience—that are linked particularly with better foster care alumni functioning?
The high school graduation rates and employment rates were positive for many alumni. This occurred despite many placement changes (the rate of which slowed significantly when youth were placed with Casey).
A key finding involves education. Research has shown that education is a leading indicator of successful youth development and adult self-sufficiency.
For foster youth as well, educational outcomes—such as high school graduation, literacy/basic reading skills, taking high school courses necessary for college admission, and post-secondary education or job training—are some of the best indicators of future well-being and successful transition to adulthood.
Factors predictive of success as adults
Although many of the general outcomes were positive, they depended on characteristics of children and services. The following characteristics together predicted the level of success of an alumnus at the time they were interviewed for the study (a composite of educational attainment, income, mental and physical health, and relationship satisfaction):
- Life skills preparation
- Completing a high school diploma or GED before leaving care
- Scholarships for college or job training
- Male gender
- Participation in clubs and organizations for youth while in foster care
- Less positive parenting by their last foster mother
- Not being homeless within a year of leaving care
- Minimized academic problems (as indicated by use of tutoring services in their last foster home)
- Minimized use of alcohol or drugs (as indicated by use of treatment services near the end of their time in foster care).
Findings from the Casey National Alumni Study are presented in the report Assessing the Effects of Foster Care.
For researchers and others interested in background materials for the alumni studies, Casey is pleased to make available the projects' major reports, instruments, and supplemental information.
To access these documents, please go to http://research.casey.org.
- Enter the login "researchguest"
- Enter the password "caseyguest"