Very Low Earnings for Young Parents Who Age Out of Foster Care
Both male and female parents who age out of the foster care system have a 50% unemployment rate in the first year they exit the child welfare system. For those who are working the average annual earnings were just $7,310, which is considerably lower than the poverty level for a single parent with a child of $16,317 in 2014. Although employment was not correlated with the age of the youth at the birth of their first child, giving birth at younger ages did correlate with lower earnings.
The study published in 2016, also found lower levels of employment among African American youth, but unlike other studies employed African Americans had the same level of earnings as non-African American youth. Like information in last week’s blog about foster youth employment, there was no association with placement stability and employment outcomes. This study did find that parenting youth who had run away from placements and foster youth involved in the juvenile criminal justice system had lower levels of employment.
In California almost 50% of foster youth will become pregnant by the time they are 19, which is a very high rate of teen pregnancy, which hovers just over 20% overall in California. Seventy percent of these pregnancies are unintended. In 2017, California passed SB 89 to provide reproductive health education and access to foster youth, which may work to reverse this high pregnancy rate.