This brief discusses trends in youth employment and workforce development to set the context for efforts to improve economic outcomes for New York City (NYC) foster youth. Several common measures have moved in positive directions in recent years. The number and rate of youth disconnected from school and work has dropped as has the youth unemployment rate, while hourly wage rates have risen. These improvements mask some troubling trends showing youth participating in more part-time as opposed to full-time work and stagnant earnings. NYC has a robust set of youth workforce initiatives, including several targeted at foster youth. Workforce experts credit these programs for contributing to improvements, but the absence of greater gains among youth during the tightest labor market on record is cause for concern.
This brief discusses some of the trends among New York City’s (NYC) children and families that may impact the future of child welfare services in NYC, including transition age youth in foster care. Most trends among NYC’s children and families show marked improvements in living conditions and child well-being over the last several years. In tandem with reforms at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), these improvements likely contributed to the long-term declines in foster care entries and census. Some data points, such as the increase in children living in concentrated poverty, raise concerns that more children and families may experience child welfare interventions.