The Unseen Costs of Foster Care: A Social Return on Investment Study

The foster care system, and more broadly child welfare in the U.S., is a complex and diverse system with wide-ranging factors influencing a child’s well-being, their placement in out-of-home care, and the resulting life outcomes. In recent years, the number of children in foster care has grown, now reaching approximately 670,000 children in 2016. This analysis was initiated to establish an understanding of the resulting long term outcomes for that child, given their experience in foster care. The resulting values then allow for calculating a Social Return on Investment, an estimate of the value generated as a result of each dollar of public spending that goes towards putting a child in the foster care system.


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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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