Evaluates data from the Community Assistance Programs regarding foster youth employment training.

“Research on the outcomes of former foster youth has clearly demonstrated that far too many of these young people are not stably employed, and that even when they do have jobs, their earnings are very low…. This report describes the results of one study that used administrative data [from the Community Assistance Programs (CAPS)] to better understand the need for employment-related services and supports among youth in foster care and how one community-based employment training and job placement program is trying to address those needs. It begins with a brief overview of the program and the data that [was] used. It then turns to the characteristics and placement histories of the foster youth the program serves, their engagement in employment training activities, and their placement in subsidized jobs” (p.4-5). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: An Employment Training and Job Placement Program for Foster Youth Making the Transition to Adulthood in Cook County, Illinois


Major Findings & Recommendations

• “The vast majority [of foster youth identified in this report] lacked basic math and reading skills. Without additional training, these educational deficits would make it very difficult for these young people to secure employment that pays a living wage” (p.29). • A significant number of foster youth were identified as having some kind of learning or other disability, “and more than half were thought to need mental health services. Importantly, this does not mean that a majority of these young people had been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, although some may have been. However, it does suggest that many of these young people had an emotional or psychological problem significant enough to merit professional attention” (p.29). • “Some of these young people spent a considerable proportion of their lives in foster care, [and] their living arrangements during that time were generally not very stable…. This placement instability may have contributed to their low level of educational attainment, particularly if their placement changes had also prompted a change in schools. It may also have made it difficult for these young people to form strong bonds with supportive and caring adults.” (p.30). • Top program activities to prepare foster youth for employment included: “Orientation, Computer Literacy, Job Club, and the Illinois Employment and Training Center” (p.30). • “Across activities and over time, the number of foster youth who actually engaged in an activity for at least 1 hour was consistently lower than the number of foster youth who were assigned to that activity, and those differences were sometimes quite large” (p.31). Similar discrepancies were found for subsidized job placements. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)