Transition from Foster Care to Independent Living: Ecological Predictors Associated with Outcomes.
Scannapieco, Maria. Smith, Marcella. Blakeney-Strong, Amy.
Published: August 2016
Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Vol. 33, No. 4 , p. 293-302
Springer International Publishing AG
233 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212-460-1500 800-SPRINGER
Nationally, the outcomes for youth aging out of foster care are dismal. Most children leaving foster care do not have the financial, medical, or social support tools necessary to bridge this transition successfully, placing a significant burden on youth leaving care (Courtney, Piliavin, Grogan, & Nesmith in Child Welfare 80:685–717, 2001; Kools & Kennedy in Pediatric Nursing 29(1):39–45, 2003; Simms, Dubowitz, & Szilagyi in Pediatrics 106:909–918, 2000). Given the poor outcomes for youth aging out of foster care, and the small body of literature on what works to improve outcomes, the purpose of this study was twofold. First to examine youth characteristics associated with better outcomes, and secondly to explore what program characteristics were correlated with outcomes. A causal comparative research design was used, employing pre-existing data. Records were collected from an agency in a large urban/suburban area in the State of Texas. Data was collected from both the Transition Resource Action Center (TRAC) and Children’s Protective Services databases. To determine outcomes, both TRAC’s Self-Sufficiency Matrix and case records were used. TRAC’s Self-Sufficiency Matrix has five domains: Education, Employment, Employability, Financial Literacy, and Shelter. t tests were used to examine differences in outcomes between youth who received TRAC services before and after leaving care. t tests were also used to examine changes in overall Self-Sufficiency Matrix scores. Furthermore, linear and stepwise regressions were conducted to determine which variables were predictive of scores on the Self-Sufficiency Matrix. The results of this study indicate that TRAC is having a positive influence on the youth receiving services. Youth show significant improvement across four of the five identified domains and maintained on the fifth domain, employment. Implications for research practice and policy are presented. (Author abstract)
ecological factors; foster adolescents; independent living skills; outcomes; psychological characteristics; resilience; measures