This study, funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, examined the adult outcomes of exiters of the foster care system, juvenile detention, and adult correction system, and those exiters who are dually involved in New York City via administrative data analysis.
Adolescents who were discharged between 2004 and 2006 from foster care, a justice (detention or jail) system, or who were dually involved (i.e., discharged from both foster care and a justice system) were tracked via administrative data for six years after their discharge. Outcomes were measured in five domains: foster care, government benefits, homeless shelter use, hospital and health services, and justice.
The dually involved group had the highest system involvement both overall and in the majority of the specific systems examined. Over 90% of the dually involved group was involved in at least one domain in the six years after discharge. Almost 80% were involved in two or more service domains, almost 50% were involved in 3 or more domains, and 13% were involved in four or more domains. Although the dually involved group has the most service usage, the justice and foster care group also had high service involvement. The average cost for the dually involved group was approximately 40% higher than the other two groups.
Within each group, the top 25% of users (by cost) accounts for a disproportionate amount of their group's total cost. For the foster care and justice groups, over 75% of each group's total cost can be attributed to the top 25% of its users. For the dually involved group, the top 25% of users consumes two-thirds of the cost.
Risk factors for being a high-cost user for the foster care group are being female; being discharged to something other than adoption, but particularly being discharged to a mental health facility; and have multiple types of placements, including residential placements.
Risk factors for being a high-cost user for the dually involved group are having multiple foster care spells; have types of placements other than foster boarding homes and exiting from jail (compared to exiting only from juvenile detention).