Around a quarter of children who have been in foster care will become involved with the criminal justice system within just two years of leaving care, and as many as 70% of youth in the juvenile justice system have been in foster care. The more a child moves from foster home to foster home, the more likely they are to end up in the criminal justice system. Children who are placed in a group home rather than a foster home are also more likely to end up involved in the justice system.
By age 17, more than half of children in foster care have experienced an arrest, conviction, or an overnight stay in a correctional facility. In addition, children in a foster home are more likely than their peers to have the police called on them by their caregivers for small infractions. Being in a group home increases that likelihood.
Kids who age out of foster care are less likely than their peers to graduate from high school. They are also less likely to attend college let alone graduate from college. The statistics change slightly from year to year, but by 26 years old, around 80% of young adults who aged out of foster care earned either a high school degree or GED compared to 94% in their peers. Only 4% of youth who aged out of foster care had earned a four-year college degree by the age of 26, while 36% of their peers had completed four-year degrees.
How Being in a Foster Home Lowers a Child’s Chance of Success: