The Evolution of Vulnerable Children Policy in America

Student Author(s)

Nola Tolsma

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard

Document Type


Event Date



How has policy regarding vulnerable children groups evolved in America? Children who face homelessness, poverty, maltreatment or foster care are at a disadvantage for future success. This paper provides an analysis of foster care policy within the literature on policy impacting vulnerable groups in general and vulnerable categories of children specifically. Lifetime opportunities are severely limited for children who spend time in the foster care system. Current research shows that specifically education and employment outcomes are harmed significantly for youth with unstable home environments. This research will investigate how policy surrounding foster care children in America started, how it has evolved, and the changes being discussed for the future through the lenses of various public policy theories on why and how policy change occurs.

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