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Comparing Outcomes 20 Years Apart: Transitioning Out of Foster Care for Emerging Adults

Thom Reilly and David Schlinkert take a longitudinal approach. They assess outcomes for emerging adults with foster care histories who are offered extended eligibility for assistance programs, expanding access from 18 to 21 years of age. The authors assess 20 years of extended eligibility for young adults in Clark County, Nevada. Keys to enhancing positive outcomes include direct financial assistance, health care coverage, and access to case management and support services.


  • Comparing two cohorts of youth transitioning from foster care, 20 years apart, offers opportunities to assess changes and challenges for extended foster care programs.
  • One of the most beneficial policy changes in recent decades has been expanding eligibility for foster care youth services from 18 to 21 years of age.
  • Programs providing direct financial assistance, health care coverage, access to case management, and support services can be key to minimizing negative outcomes and increasing positive outcomes in foster youths’ transition to adulthood.


Child Development & Well-Being, Children, Transition to Adulthood