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Outcomes of children who grew up in foster care: Systematic-review

Laura Gypen, Johan Vanderfaeillie, Skrallan De Maeyer, Laurence Belenger and Frank Van Holen

Children and Youth Services Review, 2017, vol. 76, issue C, 74-83

Abstract: Foster care is one of the most far-reaching interventions targeted at children who are abused or neglected by their parents, or who are engaged in anti-social behavior (Lindquist & Santavirta, 2014). The large number of children in foster care and the high cost of child welfare, makes the outcomes of former foster youth a trending topic in research. However, research that combines results on different extents (education, employment, wages, housing, mental health, substance abuse and criminality) is sparse. Using the PRISMA method, the outcomes of 32 original quantitative studies were compared. The studies were categorized into two groups reflecting on the child welfare orientation of the country: child protection vs. family service (Gilbert, Parton, & Skivenes, 2011). The results are clear as well as troubling. In both systems, children who leave care continue to struggle on all areas (education, employment, income, housing, health, substance abuse and criminal involvement) compared to their peers from the general population. A stable foster care placement, establishing a foothold in education and having a steady figure (mentor) who supports youth after they age out of care seem to be important factors to improve the outcomes.

Keywords: Foster care; Outcomes; Transition to adulthood; Effects; Family foster care; Residential care (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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