Young people involved in the child welfare and/or juvenile justice systems often face significant challenges as they transition to college and career. This resource, which draws upon national, state, and local research and data, provides snapshots of the education and workforce outcomes of these populations and explores the challenges they face.

Foster Youth: Who are They?

Foster youth are children who have been placed under the care of the child welfare system. Some of the leading causes of youth entering care are neglect, physical abuse, caretaker or parent drug abuse, or lack of proper childcare.

For Sources, See Appendix

Foster Youth: Education Outcomes

Youth in foster care face a range of barriers to academic success. Youth in foster care are more likely to be suspended or expelled, to experience higher rates of absence, and only 55 percent of foster care youth had earned a high school diploma by age 19. Foster youth are also more likely to change schools or move more frequently, which has been linked to negative educational outcomes.

For Sources, See Appendix

Justice-involved Youth: Who are They?

In one year, more than 1,000,000 juvenile justice cases are handled by U.S. courts. Justice-involved youth are youth in contact with the juvenile justice system, whether detained, adjudicated, or placed in a facility, on probation, or other kind of system involvement. Youth become justice-involved as a result of personal, property, drug, and public order charges, status offenses – conduct considered criminal when committed by a minor – and technical violations, such as acts that violate probation or parole.

For Sources, See Appendix

Justice-Involved Youth: Barriers and Outcomes

Youth in the juvenile justice system face significant barriers once released from custody, in part due to often-inadequate services provided while incarcerated. It's common for justice-involved youth to face systemic discrimination, and their incarceration often perpetuates the isolation and disadvantages that hamper their education and workforce success.

For Sources, See Appendix

Crossover Youth: Who are They?

Youth who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems are known as crossover youth. Crossover youth may occupy these systems at different points or at the same time, and their status may or may not be known to either the child welfare or juvenile justice system. Dual contact/status youth are crossover youth who have touched both systems, but not at the same time. Dually-involved youth are crossover youth who are concurrently involved in both systems. Given these various definitions and involvement in both systems, identifying this population can be difficult. Thus, many of the statistics and information presented in the slides below are from local or state studies.

For Sources, See Appendix

Crossover Youth: Barriers and Outcomes

Crossover youth often struggle with mental health problems, drug abuse, unemployment, homelessness, and recidivism. Compared to youth who are only involved in one system (child welfare or juvenile justice), this population experiences higher rates of criminal justice involvement and public support services as adults.

For Sources, See Appendix


Graphic 1: (Foster Youth: Who are They?)



Graphic 2: (Foster Youth: Education Outcomes)



Graphic 3: (Justice-involved Youth: Who are They?)




Graphic 4: (Justice-Involved Youth: Barriers and Outcomes)







Graphic 5: (Crossover Youth: Who are They?)




Graphic 6: (Crossover Youth: Barriers and Outcomes)




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