The Wisconsin Study of Youth Aging in Out-of-Home Care
This report contains information gathered in the first phase of the Wisconsin study of youth who become adults while in protective placement outside their families. The study examines the array of services designed to help youth, including the Independent Living Initiative and other government services. The first of three weaves of interviews with youth exiting out-of-home placement was conducted in Spring 1995. The second wave will be conducted after the young people have been out of care for six months. The third will be conducted eighteen months after they have exited care. The youth selected for the interviews were 17 and 18 years old. The sample size was 157 individuals. About 57% of the youth sampled were females; 65% were Caucasian, 27% African American, and 6% Native American. Of those interviewed, 24% had been living previously with biological parents, and 62% had one or more siblings in out-of-home placement. Most reported that they did not feel close to their biological parents, and 62% had been living with their mother when they were removed. For children in out-of-home care, mothers were the most frequent visitors. Fathers visited an average of once every three months, while mothers visited an average of once a month. Not surprisingly, 41% of the youth interviewed expressed a desire to be adopted. They had little desire to return to their biological families. Most of the respondents (90%) believed that the initial out-of-home placement had been necessary. The remaining segments of the study examine experiences in out-of-home care, attitudes toward out-of-home care, independent living training and services, mental health and social services received by foster youth, education and employment attainment and aspirations, mental health status, health status, delinquency, and perceived social support.