Institutional Predictors of Developmental Outcomes Among Racially Diverse Foster Care Alumni

Authors


  • Financial support for this research was provided by a training grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH16089-28). The authors thank the individuals who participated in the Casey National Foster Care Alumni Study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Antonio Garcia, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, 3701 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Electronic mail may be sent to antgar@sp2.upenn.edu.

Abstract

Child welfare practitioners are confronted with the responsibility of relying on best practice to ensure children in foster care transition successfully into adulthood after leaving the foster care system. Yet, despite recent reforms and efforts to address their needs, research clearly shows that foster care alumni are still more likely to experience negative developmental outcomes compared to adults in the general population. The purpose of this study was to better understand how child-serving systems of care adequately prepare racially diverse foster care alumni to thrive. Controlling for gender, age, placement instability, and circumstances of exit from foster care, study findings highlighted salient racial and ethnic differences relative to which factors predicted the odds of mental health, education, and employment outcomes. Implications for developing and implementing culturally sensitive, evidence-based prevention and intervention programs to promote positive developmental outcomes among racially diverse foster care alumni are discussed.

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