Providing Better Opportunities for Older Children in the Child Welfare SystemReportar como inadecuado

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Future of Children, v14 n1 p151-173 Win 2004

A growing number of children over age 10 reside in and emancipate from foster care every year. Older children face many of the same challenges as younger children, but they also have unique developmental needs. This article discusses older children in the child welfare system and finds: (1) Approximately 47% of children in foster care are over age 11, and in 2001, 20% of children leaving foster care were over age 16; (2) Older children need permanency, stability, and a forever family. Maintaining connections with siblings and other kin can be a crucial resource for older children as they transition to independence; and (3) Former foster children are at higher risk for a number of negative outcomes, such as substance abuse, homelessness, and low educational attainment, but the research on older youth is limited and often does not consider the strengths these youth exhibit. Much can be done to better serve older children while they are in care and to provide them with better opportunities as they transition out of the system. Programs that draw on community resources, promote a system of care, link children to mentors, and teach them life skills hold promise for improving the lives of these children. (Examples of Programs/Strategies for Serving Older Youths in Foster Care and Sources of Funds/Strategies for Helping Youths Transition from Foster Care are appended. Contains 100 endnotes.)

Descriptors: Daily Living Skills, Substance Abuse, Homeless People, Educational Attainment, Child Welfare, Community Resources, Foster Care, Age Differences, Adolescents, Adolescent Development, At Risk Persons, Delivery Systems, Social Services, Public Policy, Federal Legislation, Access to Education, Postsecondary Education, Mentors, Minority Groups, Financial Support

Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and The Brookings Institution. 267 Wallace Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544. Tel: 609-258-6979; e-mail: FOC[at]; Web site:

Autor: Massinga, Ruth; Pecora, Peter J.


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