Thousands of youth between 18 and 21 age out of foster care each year, with no connection to family or a supportive network and very poor life prospects. Longitudinal studies across the US show very high rates of homelessness, incarceration, unemployment, and lack of access to health care among former foster youth. These outcomes are disproportionately worse for Black, Native, and Brown youth, as well as Queer and Trans youth. Despite incredible investment of time and resources in recent decades, poor outcomes for youth who age out of foster care persist.
Think of Us went on a journey to understand how the child welfare system still continues to fail youth who age out of care. We partnered with Bloom Works to conduct in-field discovery sprints in five locations across the US. Our initial goal was to identify gaps in the system to inform our next phase of product development, but ultimately there were so many unanticipated insights that we decided to share what we learned with the broader ecosystem. We published those findings in Aged Out.
For youth aging out of care:
The child welfare system is most failing transition-age youth and we must urgently focus our attention to:
These findings are now foundational to our organizational strategy at Think of Us. Learnings from Aged Out have informed:
The San Francisco Bay Area of California, home to three partners:
Minneapolis in Minnesota state, home to partner:
New York City, home to around 10% of the country’s foster care youth, as well as partner: