The Experiences of Early Adolescents in Foster Care in New York City Analysis of the 1994 Cohort


Adolescents account for almost half of New York City's foster kids, yet relatively little is known about their experiences in foster care. Adolescents present a different set of challenges than younger children, for whom adoption or reunification are standard options. Using data from the Administration for Children's Services, this report describes the experiences of more than 2,000 adolescents who entered foster care for the first time in New York City in 1994. The study provides new information on who runs away from care, who spends time in juvenile detention, and the cost of care for different groups. Our findings show that what happens to adolescents as they travel through care depends in large part on the reason they entered care. Kids who enter because of abuse or neglect, for example, stay in care longer than those who enter because of a PINS (persons in need of supervision) petition, or those who are voluntarily placed by their parent. Similar variation is found on other outcomes, such as running away, the chances of family reunification, and placement stability.