Interventions for youth aging out of care: A scoping review

Interventions for youth aging out of care: A scoping review

Youth aging out the child welfare system are being transitioned out of the child welfare system with few interventions in place to support their move to independence. In developed countries, compared to their peers, youth aging out of care face poorer outcomes when it comes to education, employment, and housing. A better understanding of the effectiveness of the existing interventions that support youth in care is warranted. This paper presents a critical scoping review of the available evidence on interventions available to youth who are aging out of the child welfare system and identifies gaps for future research. Arksey and O'Malley's framework for scoping reviews shaped the process of this review. A total of thirteen databases were searched resulting in the retrieval of 1978 articles. Of the 1978 retrieved, only 68 met the review's criteria. Studies included were in English, described an intervention that was implemented and evaluated in developed countries, and published within the last 20 years. Interventions were categorized as: housing, employment, education, mentorship, independent living, and health. The majority of studies fell under the independent living category which provide cohesive resources to improve education, housing, and employment. Studies evaluating these programs generally reported positive outcomes on youth's ability to complete their education and attain part- or full-time employment. Methods of evaluations were found to be methodologically weak with respect to determining the effectiveness of interventions in ensuring youth's successful transitions to independence. Future research should look at longitudinal outcomes of youth and cost-benefit analysis of supporting youth transitioning out of the child welfare system. Recommendations also include policy changes extending the age of eligibility for youth transitioning out of the child welfare system.

JOURNAL: Children and Youth Services Review
VOLUME: 82
PAGES: 280-300
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017