Relationships That Persist and Protect: The Role of Enduring Relationships on Early-Adult Outcomes among Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care
Long-lasting, supportive relationships (what we call “enduring relationships”) are important for youths’ transition to adulthood, but these relationships are often ruptured for young people in foster care. We investigate how common enduring relationships are among youth making the transition out of care and whether having an enduring relationship improves their outcomes in early adulthood. Our sample includes 608 youths in California foster care () participating in the longitudinal CalYOUTH Study. We find that 48 percent of youth have an enduring relationship. Rates are particularly low for Black and Native American/Alaskan Native youth. Most enduring relationships have characteristics of strong ties—most are with family members and peers who provide multiple types of social support. Having an enduring relationship is found to have real, material consequences, reducing risks of food insecurity, economic hardships, and homelessness. This study amplifies the call for child welfare policy and practice to prioritize relational permanence.