Transition to Adulthood

This project seeks to improve outcomes for diverse youth of transition age who are at risk for or are struggling with a behavioral health challenge,and have been involved in the foster care system.

Purpose: To improve outcomes for youth in foster care as they prepare to transition out of the system and into adulthood. In particular, to improve outcomes for culturally and racially diverse youth by developing strategies at the policy and practice level for implementing culturally competent services and case planning for all youth, regardless of their background.

Population Addressed: Young adults of transition age who have been involved or are involved in the child welfare system of all major racial/ethnic populations, genders, and sexual minorities.

Rationale and Relevance:

  • Youth who have been in foster care experience mental health and substance abuse problems as well as co-occurring disorders at a higher rate than their peers.
  • Youth aging out of the child welfare system fare worse than their peers on all counts including employment, education, and income.
  • While in care youth often do not receive services to prepare them for transitioning out of care and their services from the child serving system are cut off.
  • There is an over-representation of minorities (racial and ethnic, sexual and gender) in the child welfare system nationally.
  • There are a lack of culturally appropriate, youth centered behavioral health care services nation-wide.
  • There are no clearly defined best practices for culturally competent behavioral health services for youth.

Projected Outcomes:    

  • Identify keys to success for youth to transition into adulthood out of foster care
  • Identify key risk factors that are at the root of the problem
  • Disseminate models of collaboration to support transition
  • Highlight pockets of excellence for this population – especially those that are culturally and linguistically competent
  • Increase knowledge of the strengths and challenges faced by youth transitioning out of care
  • Identify and promote culturally competent services and supports for youth transitioning out of care and into adulthood
  • A secondary outcome of this project will be the development of a network of experts and youth who are working to improve outcomes for this population.    This network will help to support work being done in this field by providing guidance, access to resources and expertise, and by raising awareness within their communities.

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