Current Reports and Publications

LONGITUDINAL YOUTH STUDY - YOUTH REPORT (age 17)

This report presents findings from the Baseline Youth Survey, providing the most comprehensive view to date of young people approaching the transition to adulthood from foster care in the wake of the federal Fostering Connections Act. Information gathered during interviews with 727 youths who were an average of 17 years old at the time, offers insight into the needs and aspirations of transition-age foster youth. Study findings can help inform efforts to improve policies and services for foster youths’ transitioning to adulthood.

Download the Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Conditions of Foster Youth at Age 17 by Mark E. Courtney, Pajarita Charles, Nathanael J. Okpych, Laura Napolitano, and Katherine Halsted.

Download the Executive Summary of the Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Executive Summary. Conditions of Foster Youth at Age 17 by Mark E. Courtney, Pajarita Charles, Nathanael J. Okpych, Laura Napolitano and Katherine Halsted.

LONGITUDINAL YOUTH STUDY - YOUTH REPORT (age 19)

The CalYOUTH Wave 2 Youth Survey, conducted when the young people participating in CalYOUTH were 19 years old, follows up on a survey of the same young people when they were approaching the age of majority in California’s foster care system. More than 80 percent of the youth who took part in the baseline interviews participated in the Wave 2 survey. The report provides the most comprehensive view to date of young adults making the transition to adulthood from foster care in California, highlighting differences between young people participating in extended foster care and young people who had left care. The report provides feedback for all parties interested in improving youth’s transitions from foster care to adulthood.

Download the Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Conditions of Foster Youth at Age 19 by Mark E. Courtney, Nathanael J. Okpych, Pajarita Charles, Dominique Mikell, Brooke Stevenson, Keunhye Park, Brittani Kindle, Justin Harty, and Huiling Feng.

FIRST CHILD WELFARE WORKER SURVEY

This report presents findings from the Child Welfare Worker Survey, an on-line survey of 235 California child welfare workers and their perceptions of key characteristics of the service delivery context of extended foster care, including: the availability of transitional living services; coordination between the child welfare system and other service systems such as county courts; and youth attitudes toward extended care. This report provides a valuable snapshot of how youths’ caseworkers, central players in the implementation of extended foster care, perceive young people making the transition to adulthood out of care and the service context for that transition.

Download the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Early Findings from the Child Welfare Worker Survey by Mark E. Courtney, Pajarita Charles, Nathanael J. Okpych, and Katherine Halsted.

SECOND CHILD WELFARE WORKER SURVEY

This report presents the results of the CalYOUTH Survey of Young Adults’ Child Welfare Workers, a survey of case workers supervising youth in extended foster care who are participating in the CalYOUTH Youth Survey. The report shares the county child welfare workers’ views on how these young people are faring with the transition to adulthood, as well as their preparedness and service needs in a wide range of areas. The report also shares workers’ perceptions of the availability and helpfulness of services within their county, their perceptions of court personnel’s supportiveness of extended care, their satisfaction with collaboration with other systems of potential support for youth, and their views of challenges to effective implementation of extended foster care in California. The survey results highlight areas of progress and opportunities for continued improvement as California continues its development of foster care for young adults.

Download the CalYOUTH Survey of Young Adults' Child Welfare Workers by Mark E. Courtney, Nathanael J. Okpych, Dominique Mikell, Brooke Stevenson, Keunhye Park, Justin Harty, Huiling Feng, and Brittani Kindle.

MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE PROBLEMS AND SERVICE UTILIZATION BY TRANSITION-AGE FOSTER YOUTH: EARLY FINDINGS FROM CALYOUTH

This discussion paper examines mental health and substance use disorders, as well as related treatment services, among foster care youth participating in the CalYOUTH Study. The prevalence of and receipt of services for mental health and substance use disorders are described, as well as the use of psychotropic medications and youths’ experiences with those medications. We then examine factors associated with service receipt for mental health and substance use disorders. Results suggest that the need for treatment services is strongly associated with their use, as are other factors including gender, sexual orientation, and where youth live. These findings have implications for the delivery of mental and behavioral health services to transition-age foster care youth in California, as well as other states providing extended foster care services to young people involved in the foster care system.

Download the Mental Health and Substance Use Problems and Service Utilization by Transition-Age Foster Youth: Early Findings from CalYOUTH by Mark E. Courtney and Pajarita Charles.

MEMO FROM CALYOUTH: EARLY FINDINGS ON EXTENDED FOSTER CARE AND LEGAL PERMANENCY BRIEF

In light of recent concern raised about the potentially negative effect that the policy of extended care might have on older youths’ exits from care via legal permanency (i.e., family reunification, adoption, and guardianship), this memo provides an early look at the relationship between extended foster care in California and the ways that older adolescents exit care in the state. We compare foster care exits at two time points: exits in the years shortly before extended care was implemented in California versus exits in the years immediately after implementation. We find some evidence that, in the extended care era, fewer older adolescents are exiting care before their 18th birthday than before the law was implemented. However, rather than being the result of a reduction in exits to legal permanency, this shift has more to do with an increase in the likelihood that youth will remain in care rather than emancipate prior to age 18, run away from care, or experience other unwanted exits.

Download the Memo from CalYOUTH: Early Findings on Extended Foster Care and Legal Permanency Brief by Mark E. Courtney and Nathanael J. Okpych.

YOUTH AND CASEWORKER PERSPECTIVES ON OLDER ADOLESCENTS IN CALIFORNIA FOSTER CARE: YOUTH'S EDUCATION STATUS AND SERVICES

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. This paper provides a statewide picture of older adolescents in foster care and caseworkers who serve this population. The findings point to progress that youth have made in completing their education; gaps between youths' aspirations, their current level of preparedness, and caseworkers' perceptions of their readiness to continue their education; and the critical role extended foster care is perceived to play in the educational futures of foster youth.

Download the Youth and Caseworker Perspectives on Older Adolescents in California Foster Care: Youths' Education Status and Services by Nathanael J. Okpych, Mark E. Courtney, and Pajarita Charles. 

EXTENDED FOSTER CARE IN CALIFORNIA: YOUTH AND CASEWORKER PERSPECTIVES

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. This paper provides a statewide picture of older adolescents in foster care and caseworkers who serve this population. The findings point to progress that youth have made in completing their education; gaps between youths' aspirations, their current level of preparedness, and caseworkers' perceptions of their readiness to continue their education; and the critical role extended foster care is perceived to play in the educational futures of foster youth.

Download the Extended Foster Care in California: Youth and Caseworker Perspectives report by Laura Napolitano, Yafit Sulimani-Aidan, and Mark E. Courtney

QUALITATIVE STUDY REPORT

This report presents findings from a qualitative study of youths’ living arrangements in California. One of the most important ways that extended foster care is likely to influence the developmental context of youth making the transition to adulthood from foster care is through altering the range of state-supported living arrangements available to these young people. CalYOUTH conducted a qualitative examination of the contexts within which youth are experiencing extended foster care using short observations at multiple living settings, as well as open-ended interviews with young adults and staff/caregivers in these placements. Study findings illustrate the potential benefits of these new placement settings as well as the challenges of providing developmentally appropriate living arrangements for young adults in state care.

Download the Residential Settings of Young Adults in Extended Foster Care: A Preliminary Investigation report by Laura Napolitano and Mark E. Courtney.