Transitioning from congregate care: Preparation and outcomes

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Abstract

Of particular concern to child welfare professionals working with youth in foster care is the quality of services rendered to youth in foster care who are imminently making the transition to adulthood and independence, i.e., those at risk for aging out of foster care, many of whom live in congregate care facilities. This qualitative study focuses on the experiences of youth in congregate care in New York City's foster care system, the effectiveness of efforts to prepare youth for life after foster care, and post-discharge outcomes for youth, particularly when discharged to independent living. The study included interviews with professionals as well as young adults who had exited foster care after placements in congregate care settings. Results indicated that professionals and young adults were concerned about the quality of independent living preparation, viewed housing as a serious issue for youth exiting foster care, attributed youth's lack of employment to poor pre-discharge educational and work preparation services, and emphasized the importance of personal connections after youth leave care.

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