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Prevalence of Substance Use, Housing Instability, and Self-Perceived Preparation for Independence Among Current and Former Foster Youth

Abstract

This study assesses prevalence of substance use, and the impact of housing instability. and independence preparation on substance use in two samples: youth currently in-care and former foster youth. Both samples were from a mid-Atlantic state with youth currently in-care residing in rural jurisdictions and former foster youth residing in the state’s largest urban jurisdiction. A cross-sectional design utilizing paper and web-based surveys was used to collect data. Findings indicate youth in-care are consuming substances that are on average with national prevalence statistics. However, former foster youth are consuming substances at alarmingly high rates well above the national prevalence. A high rate of housing instability after leaving child welfare was reported for former foster youth. In addition, greater preparation for independence among former foster youth was associated with less substance usage. Implications for social work practice, independence preparation, and life skills classes are presented.

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Acknowledgements

Funded through Planning Grants to Develop a Model Intervention for Youth/Young Adults with Child Welfare Involvement At-Risk of Homelessness and U.S. Children's Bureau [HHS-2013-ACF-ACYF-CA-0636].

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Correspondence to Elizabeth J. Greeno.

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Greeno, E.J., Lee, B.R., Tuten, M. et al. Prevalence of Substance Use, Housing Instability, and Self-Perceived Preparation for Independence Among Current and Former Foster Youth. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 36, 409–418 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-018-0568-y

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Keywords

  • Substance consumption
  • Substance use youth child welfare
  • Housing instability former foster youth
  • Independence preparation