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The Transition to Adulthood for Youth Leaving Public Systems

The Transition to Adulthood for Youth Leaving Public Systems

Challenges to Policies and Research

(p.501) Chapter 15 The Transition to Adulthood for Youth Leaving Public Systems
On the Frontier of Adulthood
E. Michael FosterElizabeth J. Gifford
University of Chicago Press

As young people begin to live on their own, their involvement with the public institutions that have been responsible for their education may end. For youth in public systems that serve children, the nature of their relationship to public policies and programs changes even more fundamentally. This chapter examines the transition to adulthood among adolescents leaving three child-serving systems in the United States: foster care, juvenile justice, and special education. It first describes the ways in which children enter those systems and the ways in which they exit them prior to late adolescence. It then looks at the ways in which adult transitions affect their involvement with those systems, reviews the literature on how these youth fare over time, and considers the special challenges they face. It also discusses their transition out of these programs, the services designed to facilitate it, and reviews what is known about the effectiveness of those services. The chapter concludes by evaluating these programs from a life-course perspective.

Keywords:   young people, public institutions, adulthood, adolescents, United States, foster care, juvenile justice, special education, adult transitions, children

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