Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lim, Caroline


Background: Transitioning to adulthood poses significant obstacles for foster youth adults, who encounter disproportionately elevated rates of homelessness, school underperformance, unemployment, and mental health concerns in comparison to their peers. Extended Foster Care (EFC) programs seek to tackle these difficulties by offering assistance in housing, employment, and education. However, there have been few systematic efforts to review the effectiveness of the EFC program. Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to identify, evaluate, and synthesize the empirical evidence on the educational outcomes of foster youth who have participated in EFC. Methods: This review was conducted during the period November 2023 until December 2023 utilizing two electronic databases: CSUSB OneSearch and Google Scholar. The following keywords were used: (1) “Foster care” or “Former foster youth” or “Extended Foster Care,” (2) “aging out” or “impact of Extended Foster Care,” and (3) “Education” or “Educational Attainment.” The reference lists of shortlisted articles were also reviewed to identify additional articles. All searches were limited to English-language publications with full-text availability. Articles included in this review were published between 2013 and 2023. The participants in the study included young adults who qualified for EFC. Studies implementing quantitative research methodologies were included. Results: Six articles that evaluated the effectiveness of EFC on foster youth’s educational outcomes were identified. Findings from these studies indicate that EFC has a beneficial impact on educational outcomes, namely by significantly boosting the rates of college enrollment among those who were previously in foster care. Although the EFC program has a beneficial effect on college enrollment, the long-lasting effects on persistence and degree completion are limited. Conclusions: Given the benefits of EFC in educational outcomes, social workers can consider more proactively pushing for foster youth to receive EFC.

Keywords: Foster care; Former foster youth; Extended Foster Care; Aging out; Impact of Extended Foster Care.

Included in

Social Work Commons