Currently, there are over 400,000 youth living in foster care in the United States, with over 20,000 aging out of the child welfare system each year. Foster youth are more prone to experience short- and long-term adverse developmental outcomes including diminished academic achievement and career opportunities, poor mental and overall health, financial struggles, homelessness, early sexual intercourse, and substance abuse, many of these outcomes are risk factors for involvement in the juvenile justice system. Despite their challenges, foster youth have numerous strengths and positive assets that carry them through their journeys, helping them to overcome obstacles and build resilience. The Handbook of Foster Youth brings together a prominent group of multidisciplinary experts to provide nuanced insights on the complex dynamics of the foster care system, its impact on youth’s lives, and the roles of institutions and policies in the foster system. It discusses current gaps and future directions as well as recommendations to advance the field. This book provides an opportunity to reflect on the many challenges and strengths of foster youth and the child welfare system, and the combined efforts of caregivers, community volunteers, policy makers, and the professionals and researchers who work with them.

part I|37 pages

Understanding the Child Welfare/Foster Care System

chapter 1|17 pages

History of Foster Care

Policy, Practice, and Reformation

part II|61 pages

Foster Youth Individual Development

chapter 3|16 pages

Neurobiological Development in Foster Youth

Outcomes and Intervention

chapter 4|20 pages

Trauma and Socioemotional Development in Foster Youth

Lessons Learned from LONGSCAN

chapter 5|22 pages

Foster Youth Voices

An Exploratory Study on their Challenges and Strengths

part III|72 pages

Impact of Foster Care on Youth’s Overall Health

part V|93 pages

Aging Out of Foster Care into Independent Living

chapter 13|33 pages


Employment, Earnings, and Receipt of Public Benefits by Former Foster Youth

chapter 15|19 pages

Human Capital Accumulation

A Proposed Measure and Theoretical Framework for Foster Youth Job Placement Intervention Strategies

part VII|64 pages

Social Policy and Institutional Support

chapter 22|17 pages

Fostering “Belonging-ness”

The Role of Private Foster Care Agencies with Foster Parents and Youth

chapter 24|17 pages

Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems

Crossover and Integration of Services

chapter 25|15 pages

Permanent and Formal Connections

Mentors, Community Services, and Connectedness