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