Helping youth in care succeed: Influence of caregiver involvement on academic achievement
The current study examined the influence of the placement on academic outcomes in youth receiving out-of-home care. A two-level multilevel model was used to partition variance in youth in care's academic success scores into placement and child-specific levels of influence. Associations between caregiver involvement and academic success in youth in care were also examined. Assessment and Action Record (AAR) data from the Ontario Looking after Children (OnLAC) project were analyzed. The sample included data from 687 youth between 10 and 15years of age (M age=12.99years, SD=1.68), with slightly more boys (n=389) than girls (n=298). While individual differences in academic success were primarily attributable to child-specific effects (85%), 15% of the variance can be attributable to differences between placements. Results also suggested that caregivers who provided more academic support at home and a more positive literacy environment were also more likely to care for youth with higher levels of academic success. Surprisingly, caregiver school-based involvement was not significantly associated with academic achievement in youth in care. Lastly, higher levels of caregiver expectations within the placement and youth's own differential experience were both associated with more academic success. These results suggest that academic outcomes of youth in care may be influenced by the placement in which they live.
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