CALYOUTH Evaluation

The California YOUTH Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) is an evaluation of the impact of AB 12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act, on outcomes during the transition to adulthood for foster youth. The study will include collection and analysis of information from transition-age youth, child welfare workers, and caregivers who provide services to foster youth, as well as analysis of government program data.

The study, directed by Dr. Mark Courtney from the University of Chicago, will be carried out over a 5-year period. Dr. Courtney will address the following three research questions:

  1. Does the extension of foster care past age 18 influence youths’ outcomes during the transition to adulthood (e.g., education, employment, health, housing, parenting, and general well-being)?
  2. What factors influence the types of support youth receive during the transition to adulthood in the context of AB 12?
  3. How do living arrangements and other services that result from AB 12 influence the relationship between extending care and youth outcomes?


Approximately 800 17-year-old foster youth in California will be interviewed in 2013 and a smaller group of youth and their caregivers will be interviewed about the youths’ living arrangements. In addition, a 10-to-15-minute on-line survey of child welfare workers will be conducted to obtain worker perceptions of key characteristics of the service delivery context (e.g., availability of transitional living services, coordination of services with other service systems, county court personnel and youth attitudes toward extended care).

For more information, view or download the Fact sheet about the research.

Research Findings

CalYOUTH: Early Findings on Extended Foster Care and Legal Permanency - ISSUE BRIEF

This study represents an important early look at the relationship between the implementation of extended foster care in California and the ways that youth approaching the age of majority in care leave care before becoming adults. For more information, view or download the Issue Brief.

Youths’ struggles with mental health and substance use problems are of particular concern. The following report examines mental health and substance use problems of and related services provided to young people participating in the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH). The study is following young people making the transition to adulthood from California’s foster care system in the context of the state’s new program of extended foster care (Courtney, Charles, Okpych, Napolitano, & Halsted, 2014).