Predicting Success For Youth In Foster Care And Foster Care Alumni

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Social Work


Doctor of Philosophy

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The purpose of the Predicting Success for Youth in Foster Care and Foster Care Alumni Study was to determine whether youth transition services, resources, and connections to positive adults positively affect the outcomes of youth in care and foster care alumni. The study consisted of a quantitative analysis of secondary data published in 2013: the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs (Chafee Independent Living Evaluation Project 2001-2010), testing for predictors of successful outcomes for youth in foster care and foster care alumni. The study analyzed data collected from 1,242 young people, roughly half of whom were youth in care (N = 610) and half were foster care alumni (N = 600). Measures of success included: attitudes and expectations for success, empowerment through participation in foster care leadership or community development activities, and educational attainment of a high school diploma or higher. The bivariate analyses showed a significant association between Positive Attitudes and Expectations for Success and youth in transition services, youth in transition resources, connections to supportive adults, foster care status, race, ethnicity, gender, and age for youth in care and foster care alumni. Youth who had more positive expectations had more successful outcomes. There was also an association between empowerment through leadership and foster care community development for all of the success outcomes. The multivariate analyses showed that all of the independent variables except gender were associated with Percentage Attitudes and Expectations for Success, and transition services, race, ethnicity, and age were associated with Empowerment. There are implications for social work policy: funding to fully implement youth transition services and resources is essential; and social service organizations should expand the framework for programs that enhance opportunities for youth empowerment and engage with young people as partners in order to nurture their growth as advocates, for themselves as individuals and for the community of youth in care and foster care alumni.