Foster Youth Studies

How can we better prioritize the educational success of system-involved youth, specifically students in foster care? 

For every one hundred youth who enter the foster system in California, only three will enter a four-year college or university. From the numbers, it’s clear that foster youth struggle against immense institutional and systemic barriers.

Our team is currently undertaking three separate studies on foster youth:

1. Impact of Student Support Programs for College Age Foster Students in the CSU System

Our team is working with CSU campuses to assess how the educational trajectory of former foster youth is shaped by campus support programs that provide academic support, social and emotional services and programs, independent living skills, job training, and financial aid guidance.

2. Education Perspectives of Students Who Have Aged out of Foster Care

Our team is collaborating directly with current and former foster youth through an equitable, youth-centering approach to research known as Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) to better understand the obstacles they face and the support they need. The study looks at the state of foster youth in all 58 counties, from early education through higher education.

3. Study on the School of Origin Stability Project for Foster Youth Across Los Angeles County

Research has shown that multiple school changes is a significant predictor of whether foster youth will become homeless after foster care. Our team is partnering with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) to assess the effects of an initiative to transport foster youth across the county to their school of origin.