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Home > Practice Areas > Family Foster Care > Quick Facts About Foster Care


Youth After Foster Care

Housing and Homelessness

  • In a national survey, 25% of foster youth reported they had been homeless at least one night 2.5-4.0 years after exiting foster care. 1

  • In Wisconsin, 34% of foster youth had been homeless or lived in four or more places 12-18 months after exiting the foster care system. 2

  • Of youth who become homeless each year, 25%-40% identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. 3

  • Three in 10 of the nation's homeless adults report foster care history. 4

  • In Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada, 36% of former foster youth reported times when they did not have a place to live. 5


  • In a national survey, 54% of former foster youth had completed high school. 6

  • At 12-18 months after leaving foster care, 55% of former foster youth in Wisconsin had completed high school. 7

  • In Clark County, Nevada, 50% of youth left foster care without a high school degree. 8

  • Seventy percent of former foster youth expressed the desire to attend college. 9


  • Thirty-eight percent of former foster youth maintained employment for one year. 10

  • In Wisconsin, 50% of former foster youth were employed 12-18 months after leaving foster care. 11

  • When interviewed, 63% of former foster youth in Clark County, Nevada, were employed, with an average hourly wage of $7.25. 12


  • In Wisconsin, 18% of former foster youth experienced incarceration after leaving foster care. 13

  • In Clark County, Nevada, 41% of former foster youth reported spending at least one night in jail. 14

Early Parenthood

  • Sixty percent of young women had children 2.5-4.0 years after leaving foster care. 15

  • In Clark County, Nevada, 38% of former foster youth have children. 16


  • In Wisconsin, 47% of former foster youth received mental health services while in foster care. 17

  • Forty-four percent of former foster youth in Wisconsin reported difficulty accessing health and mental health services. 18

  • In Clark County, Nevada, 55% of former foster youth reported no type of health insurance after leaving foster care. 19
  1. Cook, R. (1991). A national evaluation of title IV-E foster care independent living programs for youth. Rockville, MD: Westat Inc. back
  2. Courtney, M., & Piliavin, I. (1998). Foster youth transitions to adulthood: Outcomes 12 to 18 months after leaving out-of-home care. Madison: University of Wisconsin.  back
  3. Kruks, G. (1991). Gay and lesbian homeless/street youth: special issues and concerns. Journal of Adolescent Health. 12, 515-518. back
  4. Roman, N.P. & Wolfe, N. (1995). Web of failure: The relationship between foster care and homelessness. Washington, DC: National Alliance to End Homelessness. back
  5. Reilly, T. (2003). Transitions from care: status and outcomes of youth who age out of foster care. Child Welfare, 82, 727-746. back
  6. Cook, 1991. back
  7. Courtney & Piliavin, 1998. back
  8. Reilly, 2003. back
  9. McMillen, C.; Auslander, W.; Elze, D.; White, T.; & Thompson, R. (2003). Educational experiences and aspirations of older youth in foster care. Child Welfare, 82, 475-495. back
  10. Cook, 1991. back
  11. Courtney & Piliavin, 1998. back
  12. Reilly, 2003. back
  13. Courtney & Piliavin, 1998. back
  14. Reilly, 2003. back
  15. Cook, 1991. back
  16. Reilly, 2003. back
  17. Courtney & Piliavin, 1998. back
  18. Ibid. back
  19. Reilly, 2003. back

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