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CalYOUTH Survey of Young Adults' Child Welfare Workers

May 13, 2016

This report presents the results of the CalYOUTH Survey of Young Adults' Child Welfare Workers, a survey of case workers supervising youth in extended foster care who are participating in the CalYOUTH Youth Survey. The report shares the county child welfare workers' views on how these young people are faring with the transition to adulthood, as well as their preparedness and service needs in a wide range of areas. The report also shares workers' perceptions of the availability and helpfulness of services within their county, their perceptions of court personnel's supportiveness of extended care, their satisfaction with collaboration with other systems of potential support for youth, and their views of challenges to effective implementation of extended foster care in California. The survey results highlight areas of progress and opportunities for continued improvement as California continues its development of foster care for young adults.

Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Conditions of Youth at Age 19

May 9, 2016

The "CalYOUTH Wave 2 Youth Survey", conducted when the young people participating in CalYOUTH were 19 years old, follows up on a survey of the same young people when they were approaching the age of majority in California's foster care system. More than 80 percent of the youth who took part in the baseline interviews participated in the Wave 2 survey. The report provides the most comprehensive view to date of young adults making the transition to adulthood from foster care in California, highlighting differences between young people participating in extended foster care and young people who had left care. The report provides feedback for all parties interested in improving youth's transitions from foster care to adulthood.

Memo from CalYOUTH: Early Findings on Extended Foster Care and Legal Permanency

July 1, 2015

This memo provides an early look at the relationship between extended foster care in California and the ways that older adolescents exit care in the state. Examining trends in exits from shortly before to immediately after the implementation of extended care, we find some evidence that, in the extended care era, fewer older adolescents are exiting care before their 18th birthday than before the law was implemented. However, rather than being the result of a reduction in exits to legal permanency, this shift has more to do with an increase in the likelihood that youth will remain in care rather than emancipate prior to age 18, run away from care, or experience other unwanted exits.

Becoming Adults, Executive Summary: One-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

May 10, 2015

The Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation is testing whether the Transitional Living program, operated by the social service organization Youth Villages, makes a difference in the lives of young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody. The program, which was renamed "YVLifeSet" in April 2015, is intended to help these young people make a successful transition to adulthood by providing intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling. The evaluation uses a rigorous random assignment design and is set in Tennessee, where Youth Villages operates its largest Transitional Living program. From October 2010 to October 2012, more than 1,300 young people were assigned, at random, to either a program group, which was offered the Transitional Living program's services, or to a control group, which was not offered those services. Using survey and administrative data, the evaluation team is measuring outcomes for both groups over time to assess whether Transitional Living services led to better outcomes for program group youth compared with the control group's outcomes.

Becoming Adults: One-Year Impact Findings from the Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation

May 1, 2015

Young adults with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody experience poor outcomes across a number of domains, on average, relative to their peers. While government funding for services targeting these groups of young people has increased in recent years, research on the effectiveness of such services is limited, and few of the programs that have been rigorously tested have been found to improve outcomes. The Youth Villages Transitional Living Evaluation is testing whether the Transitional Living program, operated by the social service organization Youth Villages, makes a difference in the lives of young people with histories of foster care or juvenile justice custody. The program, which was renamed "YVLifeSet" in April 2015, is intended to help these young people make a successful transition to adulthood by providing intensive, individualized, and clinically focused case management, support, and counseling.

California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Early Findings from the Child Welfare Worker Survey

April 16, 2015

This report presents findings from the Child Welfare Worker Survey, an on-line survey of 235 California child welfare workers and their perceptions of key characteristics of the service delivery context of extended foster care, including: the availability of transitional living services; coordination between the child welfare system and other service systems such as county courts; and youth attitudes toward extended care. This report provides a valuable snapshot of how youths' caseworkers, central players in the implementation of extended foster care, perceive young people making the transition to adulthood out of care and the service context for that transition.

Findings from the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH): Conditions of Foster Youth at Age 17

April 3, 2015

This report presents findings from the Baseline Youth Survey, providing the most comprehensive view to date of young people approaching the transition to adulthood from foster care in the wake of the federal Fostering Connections Act. Information gathered during interviews with 727 youths who were an average of 17 years old at the time, offers insight into the needs and aspirations of transition-age foster youth. Study findings can help inform efforts to improve policies and services for foster youths' transitioning to adulthood.

Partnership and the Politics of Care: Advocates' Role in Passing and Implementing California's Law to Extend Foster Care

May 3, 2013

This report traces the history of the California's Fostering Connections to Success Act legislation from its introduction in the California State Assembly, through its passage and signing, and ultimately to its innovative and extensive implementation planning process. The report aims to document the California experience, highlighting its successes and challenges, so that other states may benefit, potentially smoothing the legislative and implementation processes there. Beyond telling the story of extended care, this report also focuses on two other issues. The first is the strong role played by a group of stakeholders (e.g., advocates, foundations, county administrators) in passing this bill and seeing it through implementation planning. We find that their central involvement was a result of their own desire to see the policy through to implementation, the limited capacity of state government agencies to implement such complex legislation, and the willingness of foundations to help fund implementation planning. The second is the degree to which research evidence was used in both the legislative and implementation planning phases. Our findings about use of evidence indicate that for research to be effective in shaping legislative decisions, it needs to be more timely and geared to policymakers' concerns. In particular, research on specific state-level contexts is greatly valued. For legislation that concerns sympathetic populations, testimonial or discursive evidence can be just as effective with legislators as research evidence. Moreover, in times of budgetary constraint, research evidence about cost effectiveness may be as important as research evidence about program or policy effectiveness.

Providing Foster Care for Young Adults: Early Implementation of California's Fostering Connections Act

April 29, 2013

This report examines the planning process for implementing California's Fostering Connections to Success Act, as well as the new law's early implementation. It is based on data collected from in-depth interviews with key informants who played a critical role in passage of the law, in implementation planning, or in early implementation at the county and state level and from focus groups with young people who stood to benefit directly from the legislation. Although extended foster care is likely to look different in different states, California's experience offers many lessons from which other states might learn.

Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Outcomes at Age 26

April 10, 2012

The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth(Midwest Study) is a longitudinal study that has been following a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood. It is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Evaluation of the Impact of Enhanced Parental Legal Representation on the Timing of Permanency Outcomesfor Children in Foster Care

February 1, 2011

The research review identified inadequate methodological rigor, limited research on outcomes of the juvenile dependency court process and child welfare system, and a dearth of research on legal representation as some of the deficiencies of the existing research literature. In particular, research on parental representation is lacking; of the five studies of parental representation reported in the NCJFCJ review, three involved a single program in one state and only two provided any data on outcomes associated with efforts to improve representation (Summers, Dobbin, & Gatowski, 2008). This study addresses these gaps in knowledge about the functioning of child welfare services and juvenile courts by evaluating the impact of a program of enhanced parental legal representation on the timing of permanency outcomes for children entering court-supervised out-of-home care in Washington State. The study employs methods that are methodologically superior to prior efforts to evaluate parental representation and focuses on key outcomes of the child welfare and dependency court systems. Study findings provide evidence that the availability of adequate parental legal representation speeds reunification with parents, and for those children who do not reunify, it speeds achieving permanency through adoption and guardianship.

Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth

April 7, 2010

The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Midwest Study) is a prospective study that has been following a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood. It is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.The Midwest Study provides a comprehensive picture of how foster youth are faring during this transition since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law. Foster youth in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois were eligible to participate in the study if they had entered care before their 16th birthday, were still in care at age 17, and had been removed from home for reasons other than delinquency. Baseline survey data were collected from 732 study participants when they were 17 or 18 years old. Study participants were re-interviewed at ages 19 (n = 603), 21 (n = 591), and 23 or 24 (n = 602). A fifth wave of survey data will be collected when study participants are 25 or 26 years old.Because many of the questions Midwest Study participants were also asked as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, it is possible to make comparisons between this sample of former foster youth and a nationally representative sample of young people in the general population. These comparisons indicate that young people who have aged out of foster care are faring poorly as a group relative to their peers across a variety of domains.The Midwest Study also presents a unique opportunity to compare the outcomes of young people from one state (i.e., Illinois) that allows foster youth to remain in care until their 21st birthday to the outcomes of young people from two other states (i.e., Iowa and Wisconsin) in which foster youth generally age out when they are 18 years old. The data suggest that extending foster care until age 21 may be associated with better outcomes, at least in some domains.