Virginia Ranks Forty-Ninth of Fifty: The Need for Stronger Laws Supporting Foster Youth

Nadine Marsh-Carter*, Bruin S. Richardson, III**, Laura Ash-Brackley*** & Cassie Baudeán Cunningham****

In 2017, 446 youths left the foster care system in Virginia without a permanent family. The most recent data shows that nationwide, approximately 20,500 youths leave the foster care system without a permanent family each year. Out of fifty states, Virginia is ranked forty-ninth for the rate at which youth exit the foster care system without permanency. In 2016, Virginia had 19% of foster youth age out of foster care as compared to 8% nationally.

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* President & Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Home Society of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1995, University of Richmond School of Law; B.A., 1986, University of Richmond.
** Chief Advancement Officer, Children’s Home Society of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 1989, University of Michigan Law School; B.A., 1986, Washington and Lee University.
*** Chief Programs Officer, Children’s Home Society of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. M.S.W., 1989, University of Maryland; B.S.W., 1985, West Virginia University.
**** Policy & Research Analyst, Children’s Home Society of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 2011, University of Richmond School of Law; B.A., 2008, Virginia Commonwealth University.

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