Reaching Everyone: Promoting the Inclusion of Youth with Disabilities in Evaluating Foster Care Outcomes.
Blakeslee, Jennifer E. A. Del Quest, Powers, Jennifer. Powers, Laurie E. Geenen, Sarah. Nelson, May. Dalton, Lawrence D. McHugh, Elizabeth.
Published: November 2013
Children and Youth Services Review
Vol. 35, No. 11 , p. 1801-1808
Customer Service Department 6277 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32887-4800
Tel: +1 (877) 839-7126
Fax: +1 (407) 363-1354
Efforts to evaluate foster care outcomes must avoid systematic exclusion of particular groups. Although often unrecognized as such, youth with disabilities are highly overrepresented in the U.S. foster care system, and yet youth with some disabilities, including those with intellectual, serious emotional, and physical impairments may be underrepresented in research and evaluation studies evaluating foster care outcomes. The recruitment and retention of youth with various disabilities in such studies can be impeded by under-identification of disability and relatively high placement and school mobility. Furthermore, youth with various disabilities may experience more disappointing outcomes than foster youth overall, underscoring the importance of including these youth in outcome tracking efforts. This is especially relevant given the recent implementation of the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), which requires that state child welfare agencies gather baseline information about youth in foster care at age 17, and then survey outcomes at 19 and 21. To promote the full participation of foster youth with disabilities in such outcome evaluation, this paper describes successful strategies for identifying and retaining participants that were used in three separate longitudinal intervention studies. These strategies include the systematic recruitment of foster youth by special education status, and creative use of validated tracking and retention strategies incorporating minor accommodations as needed. (Author abstract)
Foster care; Disabilities; Outcome based accountability; Program evaluation; Dual tracking; Multitrack response system; Foster children; Children with disabilities; Databases; Independent living; Independent living skills; Foster Adolescents; Youth engagement