News Details

Helping Young Adults Aging Out of Foster Care

Faculty & Research


According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, 23,396 youth aged out of foster care nationwide during fiscal year 2012.

“That is roughly equivalent to a full house at Citizens Bank Park two nights in a row,” said Johanna Greeson, PhD, Assistant Professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice. “It is also equivalent to 975 school buses completely filled with kids or the Palestra at Penn filled 2.5 times.”

Teens that age out of foster care often find themselves with few resources and struggle to find employment, housing, and access to higher education. There is a projected cost of $8 billion to support these adults, Greeson said.

“On average, for every young person who ages out, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs over that person’s lifetime,” explained Greeson.

Greeson hopes to provide a forum for social service organizations to present their efforts and results by co-organizing the first National Summit on Youth Aging Out of Foster Care.

The Summit will share promising practices from programs that demonstrate effectiveness and will offer a networking opportunity for practitioners, researchers, advocates, and more. Program representatives will present alongside former foster youth, followed by an open discussion.

“Dean Gelles is the primary master-mind behind the Summit in terms of wanting to have an event on the topic of youth aging out of foster care,” Greeson explained. “It was really a collaborative effort.”

Sixto Cancel, former foster youth and nationally recognized advocate for youth aging out of foster care, will give the keynote address. Andrew Bridge, also a former foster youth, current Executive Director at the Child Welfare Initiative in LA and author of New York Times Best Seller, Hope’s Boy, will provide closing remarks.

Registration is open to the public. Tickets are $150. Penn affiliates can purchase discounted tickets at $100 and SP2 affiliates can attend free. Please contact Johanna Greeson at for your coupon code. For more information and to register, please visit

Those unable to attend the Summit can join the conversation online by following and using #NationalSummit2014.