The Wisconsin Study of Youth Aging Out of Out-of-Home Care: A Portrait of Children About to Leave Care
This is a report of the first stage of the Wisconsin Study of Youth Aging Out of Out-of-Home Care. The primary aim of the study is to explore the post-care experiences of youth who have had relatively long stays in out-of-home care. The study will also help clarify the extent to which government services, including services provided under the Independent Living Initiative, help youth in out-of-home care to make the transition to independence. In this report, the authors examine the conditions of the youth as they approach the point at which they must leave the care of the child welfare system. Ultimately, the study will involve three waves of interviews with a cohort of youth exiting out-of-home care in Wisconsin. The first wave of interviews was conducted between February and May 1995 before the youth had exited care. The second wave will be conducted after the youth have been out of care about 6 months. The final wave of interviews will happen approximately 18 months after the youth have exited out-of-home care. The youth voluntarily participate in the study and are paid for their participation. The youth selected had been in out-of-home care at least 18 months, were 17 or 18 years old at the time of sample selection, and were not developmentally disabled. The findings from this initial report of the study should be interpreted with caution for at least two reasons. First, the report provides no information about the post-discharge functioning of these youth. Second, the authors have only provided descriptive data in this report; future reports will include multivariate statistical analysis of the data and will therefore more clearly portray the experiences and conditions of these youth. Despite its preliminary nature, this report presents the first concrete look at the population of youth aging out of out-of-home care in Wisconsin. Modified Author Abstract.