Other Youth Topics


  1. Youth Topics
  2. Transition & Aging Out
  3. Transition & Aging Out Overview

Transition & Aging Out Overview

  • An estimated 29,500 youth were emancipated from foster care in FY 2008 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009).
  • Approximately 100,000 youth are released from secure and residential facilities each year (Altschuler, Strangler, Berkley & Burton, 2009).
  • Approximately 53,000-103,000 of the homeless population on a single day are between the ages of 18 and 24. (Burt, Aaron, & Lee, 2001).
  • Approximately 1.2 million youth drop out of high school each year, more than half of whom come from minority groups (Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, 2008).
  • An estimated 2.8 to 5 million young people aged 16 to 24 are neither in school nor employed (National League of Cities, 2005).
  • More than 25% of high-school dropouts are on welfare, compared to only 10% of those with a high-school degree (U.S. Department of Education).
  • Reliance on social services is common among youth aging out of foster care and youth released from secure and residential facilities (Altschuler, Strangler, Berkley & Burton, 2009).
  • Young adults with disabilities are three times more likely to live in poverty as adults than their peers without disabilities (National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability, n.d.).
  • In 2007, 17% of all serious violent crime involved a youth offender. In half of these crimes, more than one offender was involved in the incident (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010).
  • Youth transitioning from out-of-home placements, such as foster care, experience high rates of involvement in the criminal justice system (Altschuler, Strangler, Berkley & Burton, 2009).
  • Sixteen percent of all high-school dropouts aged 18 to 24 (and 30% of all black dropouts in this age group) are incarcerated or on parole (National League of Cities, 2005).
  • The adjudication rate of youth with disabilities is four times higher than for youth without disabilities (Gagnon & Richards, 2008).


Altschuler, D., Strangler, G., Berkley, K., & Burton, L. (2009). Supporting youth in transition to adulthood: Lessons learned from child welfare & juvenile justice. Washington, DC.:The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform. Retrieved from http://www.jimcaseyyouth.org/supporting-youth-transition-adulthood-lessons-learned-child-welfare-and-juvenile-justice-0 (PDF, 58 pages)

Burt, M., Aron, L. Y., & Lee, E. (2001). Helping America’s homeless: Emergency shelter or affordable housing? Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute.

Editorial Projects in Education Research Center (2008). Diplomas count 2008: School to college: Can state P-16 councils ease the transition? Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2008/06/05/index.html

Gagnon, J.C.,  & Richards, C. (2008). Making the right turn: A guide about improving transtion outcomes of youth involved in the juvenile corrections system. Washington, DC: National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, Institute for Educational Leadership.

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. (n.d.) Benefits planning for youths with disabilities Retrieved from http://www.ncwd-youth.info/quick-reference-guide/benefits-planning

National League of Cities. (2005). Reengaging disconnected youth: Action kit for municipal leaders. Retrieved from http://www.nlc.org/Documents/Find%20City%20Solutions/IYEF/At-Risk%20Youth/disconnected-youth-action-kit-apr07.pdf (PDF, 14 pages)

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. (2009). The AFCARS Report: Preliminary FY 2008 Estimates as of October 2009. Retrieved from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report16.htm

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2010). Criminal victimization in the United States, 2007 statistical tables. Retrieved from http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cvus07.pdf (PDF, 133 pages)

Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

Civic Engagement Strategies for Transition Age Youth

Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).