Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)

Friday, January 12, 2007: 10:00 AM-11:45 AM
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
Research on Young Adults Exiting the Foster Care System
Organizer:Curtis McMillen, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis
Comparing Foster Youth and Non-Foster Youth in Emerging Adulthood Using Propensity Score Methodology
Stephanie C. Berzin, PhD
Resilience of Youth in Transition from Out-of-Home Care to Adulthood
Clara Daining, PhD, Diane DePanfilis, PhD, MSW
Depression and Substance Use as Young Adults Exit the Foster Care System
Curtis McMillen, PhD, Michelle Munson, PhD
How and Why Older Youth Transition from the Foster Care System
Henrika McCoy, MSW
Abstract Text:
This symposium addresses intriguing issues in social work research with young adults transitioning from the foster care system to live more independently. Knowledge building in this area is important because of demonstrated poor outcomes for this population and because the federal government funds states to provide programs to help young people in this transition. This symposium uses multiple samples of former foster youth from across the country to address four questions: 1. We know the early outcomes of youth in transition, seen as a group, are poor, but are they really worse than those from a carefully matched sample? 2. We know their outcomes are poor, but what do we learn when we apply a resiliency framework to understand how these young adults fare? 3. Clinical lore has suggested that depression and drug use skyrockets as youth leave care. Is this really so? 4. Research suggests that young people that stay in the foster care system to an older age fare better than those that leave early, but in those states where young people can stay to age 21, few do. Why and how do so many youth leave so much earlier? Answers to these questions greatly improve our understanding of this vulnerable population.

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