Programs and Services to Help Foster Care Leavers During Their Transition to Adulthood: A Study Comparing Chicago (Illinois) to Barcelona (Catalonia).
Sala-Roca, Josefina. Arnau, Laura. Courtney, Mark E. Dworsky, Amy.
Published: May 2016
This study compares programs and services to support youth in care during their transition into adult life in Chicago, Illinois, to those that support youth in Barcelona, Spain. It is intended to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of each system in order to provide guidance to practitioners, researchers and policymakers. Qualitative exploratory interviews with service providers, a document review, and analysis of secondary data on care populations were undertaken to investigate both systems. The main topics of the interviews included: type and aims of the transition programs; youth profile and eligibility; types of staff and their qualifications; data on youth outcomes; data on program effectiveness; and program strengths and challenges. Twenty professionals from agencies that offer different services and programs to transition were interviewed (nine in Chicago and eleven in Barcelona). A focus group was also carried out with 6 professionals of different agencies. Findings indicate that in both jurisdictions there are supportive services for youth between the ages of 18 and 21; both cities provide subsides for specific types of services and supports; professionals in both cities identify the lack of engagement as the main difficulty in helping youth; in Chicago, but not Barcelona, there are some specialized programs to support subgroups of youth with specific needs; high staff turnover was a concern of Chicago professionals but not for those in Catalonia; and there is a lack of systematic follow up studies of youth after they leave care in both jurisdictions. Strengths and challenges of the transition systems are discussed. Numerous references.
independent living skills; foster adolescents; independent living; youth services; cross cultural studies; youth engagement; funding; worker turnover; staff retention; Illinois; Spain