, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 447-459
Date: 13 May 2012

Going Home Again: Transitioning Youth to Families After Group Care Placement

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Abstract

This paper presents results from the transitioning youth to families intervention, which aimed to promote family care for youth served in group care programs in the child welfare system. The intervention was conducted in two counties in a Mid-Atlantic state. The effort encompassed administrative case review and family involvement meetings. We assessed the effect of the intervention in promoting placement in family settings within 12 months. We also explored other effects of the intervention identified by participants. Using propensity score matching with administrative data to compare one-year placement settings for the intervention counties and non-intervention counties, a higher rate of family reunification was identified for youth in the treatment counties. To provide a richer contextual understanding of the effects of the intervention, thematic analysis of open-ended comments from youth and caregiver participants was conducted. These resulting themes provided further understanding of the value of the intervention especially in the areas of planning for the transition, improving youth insight about placement options, and the importance of family involvement. Participants also made recommendations for how to enhance the intervention and promote the transition of youth from group care to family settings. Overall, the effect of the intervention in transitioning youth to family settings was nominal; however unanticipated benefits of engaging youth and family in the transition process were noted. From this evaluation, we provide suggestions for future research and the development of effort to transition youth from group care settings.