Building financial capability in youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood

Amy M. Salazar, Jacquelene M. Lopez, Sara S. Spiers, Sara Gutschmidt, Kathryn C. Monahan - Child & Family Social Work


Financial capability is crucial for youth in foster care to develop prior to transitioning to independence. However, little is known about how these youth fare regarding financial capability. This study assesses whether youth in foster care in the United States who are over age 18 have better financial capability and related supports compared with younger youth and whether there are associations between supports and financial capability. Survey data from 97 youth aged 14 to 20 in foster care were analysed. Participants aged 18 and older had more advanced financial capability than younger youth on several indicators. Older youth were more likely to check in with caring adults about financial-related issues and to have been enrolled in an independent living programme, both of which were associated with better financial capability. However, many youth over 18 were found to not have achieved financial capability in many areas. Older youth in care do appear to be making meaningful gains towards financial capability; however, more policy and practice enhancements are needed to fully prepare youth for independence.