Disconnected Youth Involved in Child Welfare.
National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being Research Brief No. 21.OPRE Report 2014-63.
National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. United States Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation.
This brief explores the characteristics of disconnected youth involved in child welfare, defined as 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in school and not employed 3 years after they were reported as a victim of child maltreatment. It begins by explaining connectedness to educational and employment opportunities may be particularly critical in reducing negative consequences of maltreatment, including emotional and behavioral problems, early pregnancy, poverty, social and family disruption, and alienation. It reports that data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being that indicates 15% of youth who were maltreated are disconnected and that the likelihood of disconnectedness increased with the age of the youth. In addition, investigative caseworkers reported 46.9% of youth who became disconnected had major special needs or behavioral problems, compared to 25.5% among youth who, 3 years later, were in school or working; almost 40% of youth who became disconnected had very low cognitive abilities, compared to 14.6% among youth working and/or in school 3 years later; connected youth were more likely to have a caregiver who had serious mental health problems (18.3%, compared to 6.6% among disconnected youth) or a caregiver who had physical impairments (9.7% of connected youth compared to 3.6% among disconnected youth), or had a secondary caregiver with active drug abuse (10.8% of connected youth compared to 2.5% among disconnected youth); and 50.5% of youth who became disconnected had a caregiver with less than a high school education, compared to 23.7% of connected youth. Implications of the findings are discussed. 7 references.
child abuse; child welfare services; foster adolescents; young adults; aging out; independent living skills; risk factors; employment; academic achievement