The Society for Social Work and Research

2013 Annual Conference

January 16-20, 2013 I Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina I San Diego, CA

Youth and Parent Perceptions of Aftercare Supports At Discharge From Residential Care

Thursday, January 17, 2013: 1:30 PM
Nautilus 4 (Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina)
* noted as presenting author
Steven Hoffman, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Alexandra Trout, PhD, Associate Research Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
Purpose: While much is known about youth struggles after reintegration into home and community settings following stays in out-of-home care, little is known about best practice in aftercare, family preparedness for the reintegration process, or youth and caregiver needs during this transition period. As part of a large Institutes of Education Sciences Goal 2 grant focused on the development and preliminary testing of an aftercare reintegration intervention, this study was designed to answer the following questions: 1) what are youth and parent perceptions of transition planning, family preparedness, and aftercare at discharge from a residential treatment setting, 2) how prepared do youth and parents believe youth are for the upcoming transition, and 3) do youth and parents differ in regards to perceptions of the benefits of aftercare supports and services for successful reintegration?

Methods: Participants included youth discharging from a residential Treatment Family Home (TFH) program in Omaha, Nebraska, and their parents. Youth were eligible to participate if they were scheduled to depart from their TFH between April and June of 2010. Youth and parents who agreed to participate completed surveys with questions focused on four areas of interest: 1) Demographics, 2) Transition Planning, 3) Transition Preparedness, and 4) Importance of Specific Aftercare Services. The final sample consisted of 48 matched youth and parent surveys.  

Results: Outcome data suggests that there are significant differences between parents and youth with regards to the importance of aftercare and youth level of preparedness. With regard to the perceived importance of aftercare, 58.3% of parents felt that an aftercare program would be “very” important, while only 33.2% of youths indicated the same (p < .01; r = 0.28). Even greater disparities were found when asked about their likelihood of participation in aftercare, as more than 58% of parents reported that they would be “very” likely to participate as compared to less than 23% of the youth (p < .001; r = 0.37). Of the seven areas of perceived preparedness, parents were significantly less confident in the youth’s preparedness than the youth in three areas: relationships (youth M = 2.49; parent/caregiver M = 2.17; p < .01; r = 0.29), family (youth M = 2.42; parent/caregiver M = 2.10; p < .05; r = 0.27), and independent living (youth M = 2.20; parent/caregiver M = 1.90; p < .05; r = 0.22).

Implications: The results of this study have potential implications for youth, parents, out-of-home service providers, and researchers involved with transition planning and aftercare. Authors discuss the potential benefits of changing traditional approaches to reintegration, and elaborate on the need for additional research on aftercare supports for youth and families.