How different are their experiences and outcomes? Comparing aged out and other child welfare involved youth
This paper adds to the growing body of research examining the experiences of youth aging out of the child welfare system. Through a comparison of youth aging out with two other groups of child welfare-involved youth—those whose families received child welfare services but were never placed out of home and those who were in out-of-home placement but did not age out—it presents a profile of their care careers and other system involvement (e.g., mental health, justice system). Analyses indicate that young people aging out of care have experienced significant amounts of time in out-of-home placement, a great deal of placement instability, and high levels of other system involvement. In general, their involvement is more extensive than that of the two comparison groups. However, the justice system involvement of youth who experienced out-of-home placement but did not age out is just as high as that of youth who have aged out. This finding highlights the importance of devoting resources not only to youth aging out of care but also to similarly-aged young people with prior child welfare involvement.
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