It is well documented that compared to their non-system involved peers, transition age youth aging out of the foster care system (TAYFC) have poorer outcomes in the domains of education attainment, housing stability, employment, criminal justice involvement, and mental health and substance use challenges. The 1999 Foster Care Independence Act (also known as the Chafee Act) increased federal funding to States to provide independent living services to ease the transition out of foster care. A Chafee funded program, Children’s Institute, Inc. Independent Living Skills (ILS) program is able to provide 5 hours of case management for up to 24 months to TAY in the foster care system. While the 2-year model of services dictated by funders is a solid bridge for youth, if and how services result in successful outcomes over time is unclear.

Thus, the goal of the current proposal is to understand: (1) the profiles of TAY who are currently participating or have participated in the CII ILS program, (2) the benefits of service engagement and remaining perceived needs of TAYFC who participate in the program, and (3) the desire for either a more structured (5 service hours/month plus intervention) or longer service engagement period (5 service hours/month for more than 24 months). Using a sequential mixed-methods design, we will complete the first goal by having N=200 (100 current and 100 former TAY) complete web-based surveys; goals two and three will be accomplished through one-on-one interviews with ILS providers (N=10) and focus groups with current [N=12-14] and former [N=12-14] TAY who have participated in the Chafee-funded ILS program. Quantitative data will be analyzed using linear and logistic regression models and thematic analysis of qualitative data will be undertaken to understand the experiences of providers and youth. Both will inform an R01 submission to NICHD under PAR-21-350.

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